CMOs pressured on digital ROI

21 October 2014

NEW YORK: Most chief marketing officers report that they are under greater pressure than five years ago to deliver measureable ROI in digital and mobile but many find it difficult to do this.

The 2014 CMO Digital Benchmark Study, from Leapfrog Marketing Institute, surveyed 91 executive-level marketers at major companies – 72% of respondents worked at organisations with 3,000 or more employees, nearly half of them controlled marketing budgets of over $25m – and found that 93% felt the burden of linking their marketing efforts to financial results.

But all too often their businesses lacked the ability to do so, thanks to a combination of internal silos, a resistance to change and limited expertise.

Fred Ehle, managing partner of consultancy BrandApart, which worked on the study with Leapfrog, told Advertising Age that consumers were adopting new technologies around mobile at a faster rate than companies and that corporate structures were a major factor in the inability of marketing departments to keep up with their consumers.

"There's a siloed nature of corporations in general, and it gets heightened when you work beyond the typical functions you've done in the past," he said.

And one of the characteristics of a siloed organisation is a reluctance or failure to share data and expertise. When asked about the integration of digital and offline marketing communication channels in providing a path to purchase, only 40% of respondents were able to say they had achieved even this much.

A mere 4% reported that their internal omnichannel capabilities were very well developed.

The executives surveyed felt that their websites, data tracking/analytics and mobile were the most important capabilities at their disposal but at the same time these were revealed to be frequently among the least-developed.

Thus, for example, one third of senior marketers were unable to use data tracking and analytics to track sales.

Ehle suggested that marketers develop case studies that demonstrated success in data, mobile or digital. And executives from the different departments within a company – finance, IT, marketing, for example – needed to develop better communications between them while coming up with agreed metrics to link marketing to sales.

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff