CMOs More Optimistic About Economy, Plan to Hire More

Consumer Insights Driving Optimism, Finds Duke University and American Marketing Association Survey

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NEW YORK ( -- Things are looking up for CMOs -- or so they say in results of a survey from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association.

Top marketers at U.S. companies, seeing gains in revenue, profits and new jobs, are more optimistic about the U.S. economy and their businesses.

Nearly 69% of 3,778 CMOs responding to the CMO Survey in January said they were optimistic about the domestic economy, up from 26% the previous quarter.

Why? "I think the answer lies in CMOs' knowledge and understanding of customers," Christine Moorman, T. Austin Finch senior professor of business administration at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, said in an email. Referring to the survey results, she said, "CMOs have confidence that all indicators of customer performance will rise. CMOs expect higher customer purchase volume, a willingness to pay higher prices, more new customers entering the market, and better customer retention. Further ... customers are expected to be less focused on price and more focused on innovation and brand. All three of these indicators bode well for the future of companies."

Ad spending will increase in the next year, according to the survey, particularly spending on social marketing, which will triple from accounting for 6% of marketing budgets to 18% over the next five years. Spending on traditional advertising is expected to increase more than 2%.

CMOs expect most growth to come from domestic markets. In terms of international markets, China is expected to yield the highest sales increase, up 4% over February 2010 estimates.

The survey also found that CMOs plan to hire 50% more marketing professionals within the year.

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