What’s Important To CMOs In 2011?

Forrester’s CMO Group fielded a survey in December in partnership with Advertising Age, to get a handle on what CMOs and marketing leaders are making a strategic priority in 2011. The article appears in Advertising Age’s CMO Strategy column.

The results? Fifty-two percent of respondents said that effectively maximizing the marketing budget and developing a culture that fosters and supports marketing innovation rank at or near the top of their priority list. Thirty-eight percent said that optimizing the structure of the marketing organization to be adaptable will be important in 2011. These survey results reflect the fact that CMOs are scrambling to stay ahead of rapidly-changing consumer behavior, media, and technology but are also striving to achieve the accountability demanded in lean times. Consumers’ rapidly changing reality commands agility and speed, but business realities command investments that are grounded in data.

  • Why is innovation job No. 1 in 2011? Most CMOs realize the importance of being proactive in how they incorporate new ideas into their plans. Since marketing innovation is about identifying and capitalizing on new business opportunities, CMOs cannot just foster creativity — they must push for evolution across all four marketing P’s, especially distribution and pricing, where opportunities for innovation are often overlooked. Flagging innovation as a priority in this survey signals to us that CMOs are saying they want to know what new approaches they can take to satisfy their growth imperatives. Forrester’s research on this topic will focus on demonstrating exactly how CMOs successfully target new consumer groups and build new offerings for existing customers that are grounded in customer intelligence.
  • Budgets still cause concern, especially when flat dollars must turn into increased sales. CMOs tell us that accountability is as important as efficiency in 2011. Even in industries that are actively experiencing recovery, caution prevails. So CMOs are more focused than ever on measurability when it comes to their marketing programs. We know from our survey that CMOs will continue to innovate, but with a constant eye on the return on investment and how results are measured.

What tops your priority list as we kick off 2011, and why? Please let us know if you want to participate in our upcoming research on innovation by emailing us at cmadigan@forrester.com



Whither Innovation

David, I am sure the report and underlying research is quite sound, but doesn't "innovation and maximizing budgets" sound just a little bit like "Peace and Bread for the people?" (V.I. Lenin) My colleagues and I are surely always worried about maximizing budget and trying to find new and interesting ways to reach our targets, not sure why 2011 is any different in that regard.

Perhaps the challenge isn't "innovation" for innovations sake, but instead about more closely identifying buyer behaviors, wants, needs etc and connecting them to your brand promise--and then delivering them in the way your buyers want to receive your messages. In a rapidly changing environment the available channels to do so are ever expanding, making the job more difficult, of course, but to me that isn't about pure innovation. That is about constantly staying connected to your buyers and making sure your strategy delivers the right buyers, while furthering your corporate objectives.

For my team, our top priority centers on identifying adjacent customer segments that have similar challenges to our historical clients, and where our value proposition will solve a core business challenge for them. This may require identifying new channels to deliver our message for sure, but it sounds a lot more like tailoring and segmenting than innovation.