Digital Connections 2.0 Report: CMOs focus on short-term growth in tough financial climate

Feb 23, 2023

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by | Feb 23, 2023 | News

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CMOs see 2023 as the year to focus on growth and customer experience over longer-term tech innovation and integration, research by Modern has revealed.

In our latest Digital Connections 2.0 report, the proportion of CMOs with growth as their top priority has jumped from 10% to 30% this year, followed by better customer experience, leaping from 5% to 21%. Meanwhile, martech integration, which topped last year’s priority list, has dropped from 36% to 13%, and innovation has dropped from 34% to 17%.

Helen Wilson, Director of Technology Strategy at Modern, said: “12 months ago, B2B marketing leaders were focused on delivering innovation and integration into their organisations, in order to justify the significant investment made in martech. Now, in uncertain economic times, budgets are under increased scrutiny and many CMOs are looking at how they can make an impact on short-term company commercials above longer-term goals.”

The research, conducted with 300 CMOs in the UK and US, set out to reveal their challenges, priorities and aspirations over the next 12-18 months.

42% of respondents said they were looking to invest more in marketing technology as a response to the economic climate. This points to an ongoing boom for martech solutions, with 29% of CMOs already spending over £5m annually on technology

It also identified an uptick in how much of the marketing tech stack is being fully used by businesses, after being invested in. Last year’s Digital Connections report found that only 4% of organisations believed they were using over 75% of their martech stack’s functionality. This year, that figure has shot up to 29%. 

Helen Wilson added: “This is good news for marketers in terms of getting value from their investment and one reason has been an improvement in training and skills. Last year, 31% of CMOs said that lack of knowledge or resistance to change from marketing teams was the biggest factor for marketing tech stacks not being used to their full extent. This year, that figure has dropped to 22%.”

The top reasons this year for the tech stack not being fully used were: data and integration challenges (21%), up from 14% in 2021. Poor usability (18%) and a change in marketing strategy (17%) were the other top reasons.

“With last year being a record year for mergers and acquisitions, the challenges of integrating systems and getting data flowing smoothly – as well as the additional burden of integrating technologies across formerly separate entities – represent a daunting task for both CTOs and CMOs,” Helen added. “Leveraging Marketing Automation and AI is a great way to deliver excellent customer experience but also to keep your sales teams motivated, they can focus on doing what they do best, closing hot leads and winning business, and less time on answering queries and clearing admin tasks.”

To read the full report, visit Digital Connections 2.0.

About Digital Connections 2.0
Research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Modern to 300 CMOs in B2B companies with 1,000 or more employees in the UK and USA in October 2022. 

Want to learn more about the findings?
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Further reading

The impact of the strategic skills gap in marketing technology

When conversion tracking goes wrong, everything gets shaky

Leading change: Unpacking the Forrester B2B Summit, North America