Innovation Lessons Learned: Five Year CMO Study Now Available

08/29/2017 08:39 pm ET Updated Aug 29, 2017

In the face of rapidly changing customer expectations and a volatile economy, leaders must think differently just to remain relevant. Marketing innovation, which we define as applying fresh creativity to improve your stakeholders’ condition, is a powerful gateway to help you stand above the crowd.

From July through October 2016, we gathered anonymous feedback from 103 senior marketers. They helped us to identify the areas where marketing innovation is improving, where leaders are struggling to create new, improved futures for stakeholders, and what resources strengthen their innovation muscles.

Senior marketing leaders from nine countries across North America, Western Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia participated in our survey. They represent academia, entertainment, media, computer hardware, software, professional associations, hospitality, legal, manufacturing, accounting, legal, health care and consumer products.

As we embark on our fifth year of the study, we will explore how much these five trends have evolved or shifted:

1. Last year, we have witnessed a meteoric rise in the 24 x 7 customer, the multi-channel message exchanges, and agile marketing. This is putting further pressure on CMOs to be responsive, nimble, and innovative. These qualities are merely table stakes for them to thrive.

2. CMOs see themselves as facing similar challenges with their peers. Respondents felt their peers’ biggest challenge is lack of alignment among internal departments.

3. We asked CMOs for their biggest obstacle to marketing innovation. “Lack of funding and budget” remained the number one personal challenge this year.

4. We saw the percentage of CMOs “willing” or “very willing” to invest in innovation double since 2015. In the previous year, only 8% were willing to invest more resources in innovation. In 2016, nearly 15% are willing to invest more resources in innovation. So far, 64% of our 2017 respondents are “very willing” to invest in innovation. This is a huge increase over previous years.

“We roll up our innovation budget with other departments, which have a higher probability of getting approved. We make sure our combined initiatives are all designed to accelerate our 4 strategic pillars.” (The SVP of Marketing for a food and beverage conglomerate
)

The percentage of leaders who rated innovation as “very critical” to their company’s success decline from 80% in 2015 to just 65% in 2016. We look forward to seeing how much this percentage changes in 2017.

“It’s an exciting time...We saw a 35% increase in website traffic due to our creating incentives for our team to share content. We also saw a 200% increase in sharing of posts. That happened within just the first month of launching our new content strategy.” (The CMO of a top 100 accountancy)

5. Since 2015 marketing leaders told us that their biggest obstacle to fostering innovation is the time they spend on day-to-day operations and firefighting. This is still a key roadblock for those who have responded to the 2017 survey so far.

When you respond to the survey, you are lending your voice to help others make marketing innovation a cultural norm. Not only will you be adding to an invaluable bank of data, you’ll also be able to see how other marketers feel about their current efforts.

Will you join us participate? In exchange for your help, you can examine last year’s white paper. You’ll also receive a 10-page executive summary in November to help you design your own strategies, and see how your marketing innovations compare to peers from 18 countries.

Over the past five years, nearly 400 CMOs have contributed their unique perspective and data. Your participation is vital. It will take only 2 ½ minutes to complete -- click here to take the survey. Thank you!

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