Today, Marketing Matters More Than Ever. Do Your Business’s Practices Reflect That?
At a time when so many of us are considering how to cut back on spending, many companies are actually beefing up their marketing budgets.
The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University’s biannual CMO Survey, which is typically conducted in January and July, was moved up to May to get a pulse on the pandemic’s impact on this very subject. It found companies’ marketing spend as a percentage of their overall budgets reached 12.6 percent in May—the highest rate since the survey’s inception. Marketing spend as a percentage of companies’ revenues increased as well, climbing from 8.6 percent in January to 12.6 percent this past May.
These numbers are a clear reflection of major business priorities: at a time when so much is up in the air, marketing really matters. Marketers’ own opinions on the importance of their field in the current moment bolster the data further: 62.3 percent believe in marketing’s growing significance.
Another key trend respondents noted? Embracing digital. Right now, everyone and their mother—and even in-the-know grandmothers—are turning to digital for everything they do: work, entertainment, education, social connection and more. That’s reflected in the CMO Survey numbers as the well, as 23.2 percent of marketers’ budgets were allotted to social media in May—nearly twice as much as the 13.3 percent rate seen in January’s survey results.
Moreover, those responsible for marketing spend don’t see their budgets shifting anytime soon. Why? In short, marketers feel the increased emphasis on social media channels is working. Almost 84 percent of survey respondents stated that customers are assigning more value to digital experiences (a logical outcome, considering our online activity accounts for the majority of our time in terms of both work and play). And for the first time in the survey’s history, respondents reported a significant increase in the value of social media contributions in improving company performance.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows: marketers have found that consumers are less likely to buy and/or unwilling to pay full price, resulting in sales losses (17.8 percent since the pandemic began), a drop in profits (14.7 percent), and a dip in customer acquisition (which was 9.2 percent lower than January’s rate).
Still, our marching orders are clear: When it comes to maintaining—or even growing—our businesses in this day and age, marketing is essential. So, do your business’s practices reflect that? Have you adjusted your behavior and budget to pump up your marketing efforts? And if so, have you seen the results of your hard work?
If you’ve homed in on the importance of marketing and put in the efforts and dollars, but haven’t seen the kind of outcome you’re looking for, there are two factors to keep in mind:
First, people are simply spending less. With so much turmoil in the economy—including record or near-record job losses—many are tightening their purse strings as they continue to hunker down. That may have an inevitable impact on your bottom line, depending on your business function. If you feel you’re being hit harder than your competitors, or that you could simply be doing better, consider whether your current marketing strategy actually reflects consumer needs.
That brings us to our second point. These times undoubtedly call for a different approach, and if you haven’t made adjustments to reflect today’s circumstances, chances are you could indeed be doing better. And if you need some guidance in that department, we are here to help.
Over the past several months, we have been highlighting strategies to keep your marketing plan in tip-top shape and aligned with what consumers are looking for right now. On our Authority Weekly blog, we’ve discussed the value of developing interactive content to connect with current and prospective consumers. We’ve shared the power of leading and marketing with empathy to effectively address the uncertainty so many of us are feeling. And we’ve dug into the value of transparency and informing your customers of present and future plans to secure their trust and support today and tomorrow.
We have also been offering complimentary webinars on everything from coaching to expanding your business internationally, positioning your book and personal brand for success and thoughts on Authority Marketing in a COVID-19 world from our own Adam Witty, Rusty Shelton and Marsha Friedman. And with our regular slate of free downloads, subscriptions and books, our goal is to keep you in the know and equipped to respond to the challenges and opportunities the marketing world presents in real time.
After all, the Core Purpose of the Advantage Family is Growing Entrepreneurs and Businesses to Benefit All Mankind. And that means we will continue to have your back—and that of our entrepreneur and business owner customers and friends around the globe—no matter what.