Top barriers faced by CMOs in APAC are linked to the challenges associated with digital transformation as opposed to securing long-term investment.

This is one of the key findings from a new report by Dentsu Aegis Network, which surveyed 1,000 CMOs and senior-level marketers in ten markets – including Australia, China and Japan in the Asia Pacific region.

While globally two-thirds (64%) say they expect to come under further pressure to demonstrate tangible short-term results, marketers in China (84%), Japan (71%), and Australia (49%) are more likely to plan their marketing strategy over the longer term, at least two years in advance.

Takaki Hibino, APAC executive chairman of Dentsu Aegis Network, noted that, while brands globally have invested heavily in digital, they have yet to reap the rewards.

“Short-term metrics rather than driving digital transformation continues to dominate the marketing function’s focus and priorities,” he said. “This creates a real opportunity for CMOs in this region to truly embed the digital transformation agenda and drive the future capabilities the region depends on for growth.”

Globally, 8 out of 10 surveyed recognise the imperative to transform the business in the face of digital disruption, as well as taking more responsibility for product and service innovation over the next 2-3 years.

China comes out leading this trend with 98% and 96% of respondents respectively prioritising these areas as key elements of the marketing function.

For Australia and China, for example, the inability to transform the business quickly enough is the number one barrier to delivering on marketing strategy.

Also cited among their top three challenges is insufficient control over digital investments or programmes across the company. In Japan, the lack of access to requisite talent emerges as the top challenge. Globally, an inability to secure long-term investment is cited as the most significant barrier to delivering on marketing strategy (rated as a top three concern by 50% of all CMOs).

At the global level, the outlook for the next 12 months is mixed with 41% of CMOs reporting budgets as flat or declining, despite growing revenues (64% of respondents reported revenue growth over the same period).

China stands out as a rare exception here, with only 17% of CMOs reporting budget as flat or declining (against 87% of same respondents reporting revenue growth for their businesses).

Sourced from Dentsu Aegis Network; additional content by WARC staff