Almost three quarters (73%) of CMOs expect the pandemic’s negative impact to be short lived, according to a new Gartner survey which also finds that brand strategy has re-emerged as a strategic priority for the year ahead.

Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2020, conducted with more than 430 marketing executives in North America, the UK, France and Germany from April 2020 through May 2020, tracks the critical areas marketers are investing in and where cuts are being made from people, programs and technologies.

“A staggering amount of CMOs expect a return to productive performance in the next 24 months,” said Gartner analyst Ewan McIntyre in a webinar presenting the results yesterday. “This optimism was pretty strong across all industries and all geographies as well,” he added.

“But this is an expectation of a V-shaped recovery which may be mismatched with the sentiments and expectations of their colleagues in the C-suite.”

He reported that the indicators that CMOs typically favour are near term and internally focused, which contrast with those that CFOs and CEOs are likely to be looking at.

The survey also found that CMOs now rank brand strategy as their top strategic priority (33%), ahead of market analytics (29%) and marketing operations (28%) – a significant leap from its position near the bottom of the list in the 2019 survey.

It’s also the first time brand has surpassed other capabilities like analytics, personalization and marketing technology (martech).

“Brand awareness and relevance in times of strife is more important than ever,” said McIntyre. “We are seeing successful brands take action that is authentically connected to their brand strategy and value proposition.”

While COVID-19 is the most obvious trigger, there are plenty of other issues to consider in the months ahead, from the Black Lives Matter movement to the US presidential elections and the ongoing choices that need to be around the use of different social platforms.

“How brands respond is serious and consequential,” said McIntyre. “Focusing on brand strategy is going to be incredibly important throughout 2020 and heading into 2021.”

Sourced from Gartner