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CMOs Struggle to Valuate Impact of Marketing Spend; Optimistic About Economy

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
September 12, 2013

Only one-third of chief marketing officers report that they are able to demonstrate quantitatively the impact of their marketing spending, according to a recent report by The CMO Survey.

Proving the value of social media spending is a particular challenge for top marketers. Only 15% of CMOs surveyed report proven quantitative impacts from their social media marketing. Another 36% say they have a good sense of the qualitative impact, but not the quantitative impact.

Moreover, almost half of the CMOs surveyed (49%) have not been able to show that their company's social media activities have an impact on their business.

However, despite their struggles to prove value, top marketers expect to increase expenditures on social media from 6.6% of their overall budget to 15.8% over the next five years

Below additional key findings from the report, which was based on a survey of 410 US marketers working primarily for Fortune 1000 firms.

Marketing Analytics and Big Data

  • 60% of CMOs surveyed collect online customer behavior data for targeting purposes and 88.5% expect to increasingly do this over time.
  • Marketing analytics is currently 5.5% of marketing budgets and is expected to increase to 8.7% over the next three years.
  • However, the use of Big Data remains a challenge for CMOs. The percentage of projects using available or requested marketing analytics decreased from 35% in 2012 to 29%.
  • CMOs report only "average" contribution of marketing analytics to company performance (3.5 on a 7-point scale where 1 is "not at all" and 7 is "very highly").

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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Bill King Thu Sep 12, 2013 via web

    CMO's will have an easier time generating a defensible ROI, cost of inaction and tying marketing activities to business outcomes by increasing the scope of their analysis. Big Data isn't necessarily the "Big Picture" when it comes to identifying and tracking the internal and external activities that are associated with effective marketing. I order to earn a seat at the strategic business planning table, marketing needs to communicate and track, cost vs revenue (much like CFO's do) for pre-marketing, marketing and post marketing activities.


  • by Bill King Thu Sep 12, 2013 via web

    Follow up thought: Is the fact that social media activities are easily tracked (i.e. reported as results) influence the increased spending trends?

  • by Tamar Thu Sep 12, 2013 via web

    Hi Bill,
    I think it's not only that social media results are tracked, but that there are technologies now in place that provide a record of a prospect's complete interaction with the brand, complete with social media, CRM, CMS and email marketing integration. This could be one reason why budgets are going up for social. Tamar, Insightera

  • by Bill King Thu Sep 12, 2013 via web

    Interesting insights Tamara. We are intrigued by data from a recent Forrester study in which marketers report that just 9% of CEOs and 6% of CFO's use marketing data to help set corporate direction. Bill ~ King Innovative™

  • by Gracious Store Fri Sep 27, 2013 via web

    It will not b surprising if a great number of companies do not see any impact of social media to their business

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