Reflecting confidence in the global business economy, 81% of senior marketers surveyed by the Chief Marketing Officer Council said they're confident they'll meet management goals for top-line revenue growth and market share in the next 12 months.
The CMO Council's eighth annual "State of Marketing" report, sponsored by NetBase and Infor, was based on an online survey of 525 global marketers, conducted in the first quarter. Forty-one percent of respondents work at b-to-b companies, 35% work at hybrid b-to-b and b-to-c companies, and the rest work at b-to-c companies.
"The level of confidence and optimism is very high," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. "We are seeing the CMO role being elevated to a much larger degree."
The study found that 69% of senior marketers said they are trusted, strategic members of the C-suite and/or are increasing their stature and credibility with key business leaders in their organizations.
The top five areas of responsibility for CMOs are strategic planning and forecasting (74%), branding (71%), digital (68%), budgeting and mix modeling (68%) and market research (67%).
"There is a lot more complexity and new roles that marketers are playing that they haven't played in the past, from data forecasting to customer advocate to digital architect," Mr. Neale-May said. "We are seeing CMOs getting more traction, more elevation and more influence in the C-suite, and that is global."
CMOs said the top mandates they've been given from senior management over the next 12 months are driving top-line growth (56%); growing or retaining market share (52%); better defining the brand and value proposition (44%); and furthering customer insights and analytics (37%).
Over half (54%) of marketers said they plan to boost their marketing budgets over the next 12 months, 27% will keep budgets flat, and the rest will cut budgets.
Among b-to-b marketers, 53% will increase budgets, 27% will keep them flat, and 20% will cut budgets.
The areas receiving the most funding in the next 12 months will be new products and program launches (54%); corporate branding and identity building (53%); lead generation and qualification (50%); and customer retention and monetization (44%).
$137.8B U.S. ad spend for top 200 advertisers
The top areas of marketing budget growth over the next 12 months will be social advertising (71%), online video (71%), social engagement campaigns (69%), retargeting (67%) and search engine marketing (66%).
The study also found that 55% of marketers plan to hire this year; 26% plan to keep headcount levels the same; and 19% plan to make staff cuts.
Some of the key positions they'll be filling are in customer analytics (40%), social media (36%) and content development (27%).
For b-to-b marketers, 60% plan to hire this year, and the top areas they'll be filling are customer analytics (33%), product marketing support (33%), content development (32%) and social media (32%).
The survey asked CMOs which peers in their organizations they were forming partnerships or alliances with in order to improve decision-making, procurement and customer engagement advances. The top responses were the CFO (58%), CIO (53%) and chief sales officer (51%).
"The CFO is a critical relationship they are trying to build," Mr. Neale-May said. "Marketers have to be much more numbers-oriented and be able to speak their talk. That is how they will continue to command the necessary budgets and resources to get things done."