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What’s on your CMO’s mind heading into 2015?

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The CMO Survery Report: Highlights and Insights August 2014

The past few years have been transitional ones for marketing professionals. New tools and strategies, combined with drastic financial and organizational shifts, have changed the way marketing professionals approach their craft – both now and in the coming year. But how do things look to the people at the top? What runs through the minds of CMOs as they survey the industry landscape?

The American Marketing Association (AMA) recently surveyed CMOs in Fortune 1000 and Forbes 200 companies about their plans and concerns for both 2014 and 2015. Here are some insights into what they’re thinking:

Proving Social Media as a Viable Strategy

Social media is becoming more important to company performance, as evidenced by a clear increase in budget spending, but its effectiveness is difficult to prove. Fewer than 15% of survey respondents in the B2B sector indicated that they’re able to show the quantitative impact of social media on their businesses. In addition, respondents indicated that social media remains poorly integrated into their marketing strategy. Yet spend in the B2B social channel is expected to jump from its current rate of just over 9% of marketing budgets to around 13% next year – and to more than 20% within five years.

Continuing to Shift from Traditional Advertising to Digital Marketing

The AMA survey shows that over the past year, marketing budget spending on traditional advertising has been on the decline. Conversely, digital marketing spend has increased across B2B and B2C industries. This shows a distinct move away from traditional advertising channels of print and television and into the digital space. CMOs are also feeling more pressure to prove the value of marketing, which may be one factor the continual push of digital methods to the forefront.

Increasing Emphasis on Service

Despite all this spending, most of the respondents are aware that customers are more concerned with service and product quality over brand building. Service is especially important, with 23% of respondents across both B2B and B2C sectors indicating it as a customer’s priority over the next 12 months, as opposed to just 5% for brand building. And with 69% of CMOs expecting a more intense rivalry for customers in the coming year, service may make all the difference.

We’ll keep an eye on how these predictions play out in the coming year, especially as new marketing tools are introduced and trends continue to develop.