NORTH CAROLINA: American marketers are pushing ahead with digital spending, while failing to dedicate as much thought to the wider societal picture, according to a new survey.

The biannual CMO Survey, run by the American Marketing Association, Deloitte, and the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, explores the online responses of 324 high-ranking US marketing executives.

In the next five years, the survey suggests that the majority (54%) of American marketing expenditure will go to digital channels in the next five years, up 10 percentage points from the figure today (44%). Spending specifically on social media is also expected to increase to 22.9% in the next five years from 13.8% now.

But it is mobile marketing that has seen the greatest jump in spend. In February 2017, marketers were only dedicating 3.7% of budgets to mobile; the figure currently stands at 9.4% – more than doubling. A gulf remains in companies’ measurement capabilities in digital, however. Despite 6.7% of marketing budgets being spent on analytics, marketers don’t feel they are properly skilled in this area. The survey finds many marketers predicting that spend on analytics will triple in the next two years, though previous such predictions never materialized.

“A lack of trained professionals, as well as the necessary measurement tools and processes, are the biggest obstacles to using marketing analytics within companies,” said Professor Christine Moorman, of Duke University and who ran the study.

However, the picture of marketing’s wider impact is fuzzier. For instance, the impact of GDPR as an example of the kind of customer data legislation does not seem to be preparing companies for such regulatory changes in the US, or indeed for a swing in public opinion. Companies are, however, changing the way they use customer data.

The vast majority of respondents (70%) said they expect to use more online data in the near future, though it is more likely to be first-party data, as the use of third-party data continues to fall.

“Privacy concerns do not, however, loom as large as they should, with only 10 percent of firms very worried about their use of online or third-party customer data”, Moorman said. “While toeing the line on privacy concerns, marketers should probably focus on gaining a competitive advantage with data collected from customers online before any regulations may be introduced.”

Meanwhile, US marketers are spending more. The CMO survey shows that budgets grew by 7.5% in the last 12 months, and will increase by the same proportion in the coming year.

Sourced from the CMO Survey