This week’s IPA Bellwether Report might be predicting tough times ahead, with the threat of recession looming large, but marketers remain as upbeat as ever, with three-quarters (76%) thinking their team is excited about their company’s future, and even more (77%) saying their stakeholders empower them to perform well in their role.
That is according to a new global study of 400+ marketing leaders by strategic advisory firm MediaLink, “The Marketer’s Forecast 2024 (TMF24),” which also fins that nearly eight out of ten (80%) CMOs trust the leaders of their company to get it to its future destination, up from 65% in 2022 and 71% in 2021.
Even so, there is a noticeable nervousness around the CMO role, with over two-thirds (68%) thinking there is a risk of CMOs becoming “corporate figureheads” – someone with a leadership role but no power to create change.
They face pressure to balance economic headwinds and a short-term win mentality with a greater focus on long-term innovation and growth; with nearly half (45%) admitting their company has compromised core values to enable short-term wins.
CMOs certainly have a job on their hands, with boards pushing AI to the top of the agenda. Two-thirds of marketers say their business is already experimenting with AI and other emerging technologies, forcing them to look at their technology and data strategy through a new lens.
The study also reinforces the findings of a recent World Federation of Advertisers report, with CMOs in this study also demanding that agency partnerships be reimagined. More than a third (36%) of marketing leaders foresee more flexible arrangements with partners and 30% want to add specialist agencies into their ecosystem.
In addition, refining their organisational models will be essential for the CMOs looking to get in shape for growth, MediaLink insists.
Over the years, the role of the CMO has changed, and 80% of marketers believe it will be the leaders who offer varied experiences, perspectives, and merits who are most likely to succeed.
The report also confirms that CMOs are increasingly accelerating the transformation of their teams, rethinking everything from their marketing mix to bringing more innovation, commerce, and technology to their marketing organisations and working more collaboratively across the C-suite.
In fact, 70% of marketers believe their marketing team is now upstream and integrated.
MediaLink chief executive Michael Kassan said: “Marketers face increasing expectations on what their role should be, which have put growth at the top of their agenda. I am glad to witness a new transformational generation of CMOs stepping up and leading businesses through uncertainty and towards progressive evolution.”
AT&T chief marketing and growth officer Kellyn Smith Kenny added: “As CMOs, we must debunk the notion that profits and customer experience are opposing functions. That starts with defining your company’s purpose and the role you serve in your customers’ lives. You need to build belief with your employees and leaders at all levels that investment in the customer is investment in growth.”
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