The CMO Council’s annual State of Marketing report found that 52 per cent of marketers are either planning no change or a decrease to their mobile marketing budgets, which includes search, banner and display. A third (32 per cent) are planning to increase them by up to 5 per cent while 16 per cent expect to see a 10 per cent increase.
That is a significant slowdown on last year, when 62 per cent of marketers planned to increase their budgets and 25 per cent expected that increase to be more than 5 per cent.
Liz Miller, senior vice president at the CMO Council, says the slowdown has come as marketers hit the “growing pain stage” in their approach to mobile. She says the sector has seen an “excited spending spree” over the past few years as brands try to take advantage of the opportunity in mobile as sales of tablets and smartphones rise.
However, they are now pulling back slightly to work out how mobile links to the rest of their marketing strategy. She believes a lot of marketers were stung by mobile apps, which they invested millions in but consumers aren’t really using, meaning they are now more wary of mobile and how it connects with to the wider customer experience.
“This is a positive thing. Marketers are redefining what they mean by mobile. Everyone raced out to try and develop their own app before realising that mobile’s power is in the mobile web, banners and search. Now they are trying to figure out their strategy again,” she says.
Miller believes social is two years further down the line, meaning that excitement about the possibilities are again returning to the space. This is why 71 per cent of marketers expect to increase their social media marketing budget over the next year, the highest percentage alongside video.
Overall, 54 per cent of marketers expect their budgets to increase over the next year, with 31 per cent expecting more than a 10 per cent rise and 9 per cent forecasting an increase of 20 per cent. That is a big turnaround from five years ago, when more than 50 per cent were forecasting budget cuts.
That renewed optimism is reflected other areas, with 83 per cent of marketers expecting a salary rise this year and 55 per cent planning to take on new staff. This recruitment drive will particularly focus on people with expertise in data and analytics, an area where 85 per cent believe they are lagging.
To improve their ability to tackle big data, Miller believes more marketers must take a step back and spend time mapping and understanding every customer touchpoint. She says this requires a move away from only thinking about campaigns to considering the whole customer experience so marketers can ask “targeted, smart, valuable and actionable questions” of the data.
However, she cautions that the only way this will happen is if there is a strong mandate from the top to focus on the customer and drive a culture shift across the company. That is why working with other c-suite executives, such as the chief financial officer, chief information officer and HR and sales bosses is so important.
“The CMO needs to be working with the c-suite not just on an operational level but also strategically. If you are looking at improving customer experience, if you don’t have the talent you need to partner with HR. If you don’t have the tools you need to talk to CIO. To put forward a great business case you need to work with the CFO. This strategic business alignment is pushing the CMO forward” she says.
CMOs that can do this will also find they are more highly paid, have greater job security and are more confident in their ability to achieve their business goals.