Deloitte’s latest CMO Survey of 356 senior-level marketers explores how the events of the past year continue to affect marketing activities, spending, jobs, and performance. Organizations and marketing leaders have been forced to pivot their traditional go-to-market strategies, budgets, talent structures, and ways of doing business in order to stay afloat. In this post we explore these findings, how marketing budgets have changes, and the activities you need to focus on in these unsettled times.
As the pandemic continues, 72.2% of marketers reported that the importance of marketing within their organizations has increased over the past year. Increased demand from customers for strong digital experiences has positioned marketing as a key player to deliver direction and growth.
Here are some highlights from the survey.
- Customer Retention and Brand Value are Top Priorities - Marketers reported that they are focused on retaining current customers (27.9%) and building brand value that connects with customers (27.6%) as their main objectives during the pandemic over efforts such as improving marketing ROI.
Marketing spend for brand building is up 9.5% and digital marketing spend is up 14.3%
- Website Optimization - The pandemic forced organizations to reassess their go-to-market business models and shift resources to build digital interfaces as customers’ need for strong digital experiences increases. As a result, 73.8% of organizations have made significant investments to expand their digital marketing capabilities, with website optimization as the main focus.
- Customer Experience Over Innovation - Marketers report that customer experience (33.3%), superior product quality (30.2%), and trusting relationships (23.3%) will be prioritized by customers in the next year over other efforts such as superior innovation (9.0%).
- Partner Strategies Dominate in B2B - Organic growth is still the dominant strategy overall but more B2B companies are increasing focus on partnership strategies to spur growth.
- B2B Marketing Budgets in 2021 - Marketing spending decreased by 3.9% over the last year but is expected to grow by 14.3% in the next year. Despite losses, marketers report an 11.5% increase in digital marketing spending in the last year. For B2B product firms, the marketing budget represents 9.4% of the overall company budget and 10.0% of revenue. For B2B service firms, the marketing budget represents 11.4% of the overall company budget and 15.5% of revenue.
Building Brand Awareness
There is a lack of understanding about brand awareness within most organizations because it is not easily quantifiable. In contrast, lead gen activities are easy to quantify – spend versus lead.
But brand awareness is more important than ever before because it establishes trust with prospects and customers. There is a lot of data out there that shows if you don’t have strong brand awareness, your company won’t grow or the sales cycle is extended. This post talks about creating momentum and the key marketing KPIs you need to consider on whether or not you are creating growth.
Here are a few reasons why it is so important.
- Consumers show a significant preference for high awareness brands despite quality and price differentials
- Brands considered during initial research can be up to three times more likely to be purchased eventually than brands that aren’t in it.
- Brand awareness has a greater impact on building brand equity than does advertising promotions
- Brands that have more awareness grow faster.
- There's a strong correlation between brand awareness, perceived quality, and brand equity.
Brand Building Activities
Logo – Is your logo memorable? Is it modern and have color? An outdated logo portrays an outdated company.
Website Experience – Your website is the usually the first experience a prospect has with your company – as the saying goes, first impressions are lasting. Is your website slow? Can prospects easily navigate it and find what they are looking for? Are you using their language meaning are you using phrases and terms that are familiar in their industry? Learn more about Why Now is the Time to Accelerate Digital Sales and Marketing here.
Positioning – Are you differentiated from your competitors and do you communicate your differentiation? Positioning needs to be reviewed quarterly as markets change rapidly. What is the Difference between your Brand Story & Sales Message?
Earn Trust – People learn from their friends, colleagues, and industry-trusted organizations. Is your content educational and helpful? Do you have testimonials or case studies, even white-labeled cases – available? Are you proactively pursuing earned media? Do you have strong thought leadership? Are you engaging on social media? All of these activities are necessary to earn trust.
Promote Partnerships – In almost all B2B industries, ecosystems exist and your participation in these ecosystems are critical in establish trust and awareness.
Create a Consistent Customer Experience – Identify every touchpoint during your customer buying journey and create a consistent experience. For example, consider Amazon. Amazon makes it easy for customers to buy products and return products. I recently had to make a return and chose to do the return at a local Kohl’s store. I walked up to the return counter, the bar code on the package was scanned in, and I was handed a receipt with a 25% discount to shop in the store. Since I needed to make a fairly large purchase, I chose to buy the item in the store instead of going to a specialty retail outlet next door. It was easy, saved me time, and it save me money. It was a great experience. Moving forward, I will not hesitate buying from Amazon even if I have I reservations over the product because the return process was simple. This post talks about the importance of connecting your website to your CRM for a great customer experience.