CMOs expect their budget to increase, says Gartner – but ROI needs to be seen first

CMOs are confident about their budgets increasing next year, according to Gartner – but if money is to increase, then it needs to correlate directly to business initiatives.

The analyst firm has put together a missive based on interviews with more than 600 marketing executives, with almost two thirds (63%) of CMOs expecting their budgets to go up in 2019. Budgets have remained steady this year, comprising just over a tenth (11.2%) of overall company revenue – and these findings play nicely with similar results, which found more than half of CEOs expected to increase their marketing investments.

Yet this all comes with a warning. CMOs need to provide more of a link to ROI and business outcomes, otherwise they can forget about all the extra money from above. This was a point which Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group, pointed out when speaking to this publication earlier this month.

“If you want to make a mark, and you want to have a seat at the board, or the attention of the C-suite, then make marketing a business tool,” said Solis. “Drive towards those business objectives, and that’s where you start.”

What’s more, while the prospects for marketers may look good internally-facing, it’s a less rosy picture outside. Concerns over the economy – a factor Alibaba, for instance, pointed specifically to following its most recent financial results – mean CMOs must ‘expect the best but plan for the worst’, in the words of Ewan McIntyre, senior research director at Gartner.

McIntyre added that while some CMOs were making the most of their lot, others needed to catch up. “We see some leading CMOs that have developed a shared understanding of the metrics that demonstrate the value marketing delivers to the overall organisation,” said McIntyre. “However old habits die hard, and most CMOs still gravitate toward metrics that have less meaning outside of the marketing team.”

One area which continues to thrive is martech; in 2018, it accounted for almost a third (29%) of the total budget, up from 22% last year, making it the single largest area of investment for marketing resources and programs across the board.

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