DURHAM, NC: More than a third of CMOs see having the right talent as the most important factor in driving future organic business growth, according to a new study.

The February 2018 iteration of The CMO Survey, carried out twice a year with the support of the American Marketing Association, Deloitte and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, received responses from 362 top marketing executives.

This found that 35% regarded talent as vital to growth, while 23% cited the right operating model, 11% the right technology and 10% the right data.

“I don’t think talent is at top of every CMO’s agenda,” said Christine Moorman, Professor of Business Administration at the Fuqua School of Business. “However, I would say more can be done to attract, enable, and retain marketing talent.

“Simply put, if firms want to grow, talent should be a mission critical priority.”

The survey indicated that firms are planning to hire 7.3% more marketers in the next 12 months – the largest increase in five years.

That ties in with a wider push to develop new marketing capabilities, either by training existing employees or hiring new staff with the relevant skills.

Over half (56%) of respondents planned on taking this approach while another 40% intended to use some type of partnering strategy – which might be with agencies (14%), consultancies (14%) or other companies in the value chain (12%).

Moorman expressed surprise at the emphasis on training/hiring rather than partnering but added that companies were wise to adopt this approach.

“Building marketing capabilities is not easy and it takes investment and time,” she noted. And companies that can do so successfully “are more likely to have a sustainable source of competitive advantage in house they can leverage over time.

Overall, CMOs expected to increase spending on new marketing capabilities by 6.5%, significantly more than the increases slated for marketing research and intelligence (3.9%), marketing consulting services (3.3%) and marketing training, where existing knowledge is transferred to employees (1.9%).

Sourced from The CMO Survey; additional content by WARC staff