This year's Gartner CMO Spend Survey is really great. In fact, I like it better than last year. Whereas the last one was all about growing capabilities (mainly by layering on martech), this year is all about results. Now that everyone has spent a ton of money upgrading their martech stack, how did it work out? That is what 2018 is all about--results. And you know what is required to figure out results? Analytics.
Check out that title: "Budgets Receded Amid Demand for Results"
Budgets are shifting away from new investment in capabilities and toward the systems and people who can read the numbers and analyze the outcomes. I think this is a great story.
Here are my favorite parts:
"Martech spending has fallen by 15%, as CMOs pull back on last year’s high spending commitment amid concerns over marketing’s capability to acquire and manage technology effectively." (p. 2)
Marketing needs to understand that the current skill set (communications focus) is not sufficient anymore. The expectations (and job description) of the Marketing Manager is changing. Next-gen marketers need to have some technical background if they want to stay in the driver's seat. Otherwise they risk a credibility gap in the organization as they compete with IT for budgets and management of their own marketing platforms. (I think this is outstanding, but that is a topic for a different post.)
"Previous budget increases have come with weighty expectations, some of which have yet to be met." (p. 3)
Situation clearly defined. This is where we're at walking into 2018. All the grand plans from 2017--always on spending, customer journey mapping, marketing automation, dynamic personalization, integrated CX--need to start living up to their promises. The spending of last year was an investment, not a cost. Prove it.
"Analytics is a strategic enabler, central to delivering customer experience, identifying, understanding and growing customers, and measuring and optimizing marketing performance. Where deployed correctly, marketing analytics investments offer complementary benefits, ensuring that investments across other marketing programs deliver greater return to the business." (p. 11)
Perhaps the best description of what a good analytics program brings to the table that I've ever read. Analytics is always a tough sell because it doesn't directly deliver results the way a creative ad or paid search campaign can. But what is does is something so much more valuable. It enables all the good things that marketing likes to promise the organization and also provides the proof. It should be the cornerstone of any marketing investment.
"Appoint a marketing analytics leader within your team with the seniority and experience to maximize your analytics investment." (p. 11)
That should be written twice. Not only does marketing need to have its own expertise on its own team (don't lean on IT or BI), but that person needs to have seniority and experience. It has to be someone who knows what they are doing and have been doing it for a while. This is too important to throw on a junior staffer or make the 15th priority of your digital manager. It's time to get real. Create some analytics governance. Show the value.
"Digital channels are purpose-built to feed CMOs’ metrics requirements, facilitating easy calculations in marketing program performance in terms of reach, engagement and conversion. But, the multi-channel journey demands that marketing leaders go further than channel performance metrics and challenges them to employ advanced analytics to answer the elusive total marketing ROI question." (p. 13)
To me, the key phrase is "purpose built". This can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the data is better and allows for more effective optimization. On the other hand, it can create blinders to tactics that are very effective yet lack the data integrity that digital shows. This pull toward digital will be especially powerful in 2018 if analytics is the focus, because analytics has an inherent bias toward tactics that provide the best data.
There are a lot of other really good parts in this study. For a more in-depth look, I've saved you some time by highlighting the areas that I found poignant and offering my comments inline. Feel free to download the annotated version here.
If you'd like the original document from Gartner, you can find it here.