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Study: Marketers Want More Money for Visual Content

CMO Council Finds Marketers Aren't Allocating Enough Budget to Visuals

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Marketers will invest more in video in the future, according to the CMO Council study.
Marketers will invest more in video in the future, according to the CMO Council study. Credit: CMO Council

While the majority of senior marketers believe visual assets are important to their marketing strategy, they don't feel they're allocating enough of their marketing budget to creating visual content, according to a study released today by the CMO Council.

The study, "From Creativity to Content," was based on an online survey of 177 senior marketers in North America, conducted during the second quarter. Fifty-two percent of respondents were from b-to-b companies; 30% were from companies doing both b-to-b and b-to-c; and 18% were from b-to-c companies.

According to the survey, 65% of marketers said they believe visual assets, including photos, videos, illustrations and infographics, are core to how their brand story is communicated.

However, only 29% of senior marketers said their marketing budget is allocated appropriately and at the right level toward acquiring or creating visual assets, and 39% said more budget should be allocated to creating visual assets.

Currently, nearly a quarter (24%) of marketers allocate less than 5% of their marketing budget to the creation or procurement of visual assets, the study found. Nineteen percent of marketers devote between 5% and 10% of their budget to creating visual assets; 23% allocate between 10% and 25% to visuals; 9% devote between 25% and 50% to visuals; and 2% devote more than half of their marketing budget to creating visual assets. The rest either don't know or don't have a separate line item for visuals.

"Marketers tend to create visual content in silos -- they get a corporate photographer, the agency creates a visual, or someone in creative finds a royalty image and puts it in the system," said Liz Miller, senior VP-marketing at the CMO Council.

"It's all about understanding we have to create operational rigor and realize we have to have connected systems to enable visual images to be part of the marketing content strategy," she said.

Regarding which types of visual content assets will become more important in the future, the top ones cited by senior marketers were video (79%), infographics (60%), photos (50%) and illustrations (41%).

"Where budgets will increase the most dramatically is around video," Ms. Miller said. "We will see some significant investment in how to include video in brand storytelling."

She said b-to-b marketers in particularly are looking at branching out and including different types of visual assets in their brand-building and storytelling.

"B-to-b marketers really have to up their game -- not just write a white paper, put it on their website and get people to register for it," she said. "People enjoy visuals, and this is true both for b-to-b and b-to-c. It's important to have interesting content pieces incorporating infographics, charts, whitepapers and videos."

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