NEW YORK: A majority of marketers are planning to increase their budgets this year with the highest growth rate to be seen in social media, a new report from the CMO Council has shown.

According to its fifth annual State of Marketing Report, which took responses from 600 CMO Council members, 57% of firms will raise their expenditure in 2011, with a majority increasing their social media spend by over 5%.

More than half of CMOs are also planning new product launches for this year, while a growing number (24%) recognise the need to improve digital media and online marketing effectiveness.

"The influence of the Internet is ... emerging as a key challenge for marketers," the report said.

"Driven by a more savvy and demanding customer, the Internet demands new talent to develop strategy, execute, monitor and measure, and not all marketing organizations are currently equipped with that personnel."

New technology remains an issue for marketers as their own performance ratings testify. Just 5% of respondents felt that their online marketing capability was "excellent", and a further 15% thought online efficiency and effectiveness in their market was "good".

There was further doubt in the context of converting site visits to leads or customers with 17% of respondents feeling they were not doing a good job in this area.

Ways of measuring online marketing effectiveness are also causing concern. In all, two-thirds of CMOs said they will look to improve targeting in their marketing outreach and campaign rollouts.

Meanwhile, to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns, 43% will turn to digital demand generation and online relationship building.

But marketers are not implementing closed loop systems to monitor acquisition effectiveness, the report found. Only 18% are gathering and better utilising web metrics and performance measures.

Data sourced from The CMO Council; additional content by Warc staff