Top 3 priorities of a CMO for digital marketing and 25 challenges

Posted on September 27, 2015 by Rob Petersen




  • CMO’s plan a +12.2% increase in spend for digital marketing vs. -2.1% for traditional advertising in next 12 months (CMO Survey)
  • 23.8% of digital marketing budget goes to social media (CMO Survey)
  • Only 15.0% can prove quantitative impact (CMO Survey)

By 2018, digital marketing is expected to overtake TV as the largest advertising segment. It’s elevating the importance of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) as strategist, innovator, and buyer of advisory services and technology. Greater measurability with digital marketing is making the CMO more accountable.

No question about it, a CMO has more responsibilities these days. And it’s giving CMO’s a much bigger “to do” list.

Here are the top 3 priorities and 25 challenges a CMO faces with digital marketing.


  • 73% of CMO’s say they would increasingly contract directly with media owners and technology companies (MediaSense)
  • 65% of CMO’s say digital marketing is the best way to deliver higher response and engagement rates to their companies (CMO Council)
  • 60% say they anticipated content development functions would increasingly move in-house or to alternative agencies within the next five years (MediaSense)
  • 58% of respondents say the number of agencies they worked with would likely fall over the next five years (MediaSense)
  • 53% of CMO’s say with the growth of digital marketing, their team’s responsibilities include a greater focus on enabling revenue growth (Deloitte and ExactTarget)
  • 38% of CMO’s say they have a larger technology budget to keep pace with the growth of digital marketing (Deloitte and ExactTarget)
  • Number of direct reports to a CMO has decreased from 31 to 11 in the past 3 years (CMO Survey)


  • 90% say that customer individualization is a priority (Adobe)
  • 71% believe mobile marketing is core to their business (SalesForce)
  • 63% place a priority on the ablity to spot opportunities and adapt strategies quickly (Econsultancy)
  • 38% of CMO’s perceive an increased role in customer service, yet 23% don’t feel adequately prepared to address that greater role (SalesForce)
  • CMO’s narrowly give the edge to excellent service (23%) over product quality (22%) and a trusting relationship (21%) (Duke University)
  • Only 20% have set up social networks for the purpose of engaging with customers (Forbes)
  • Only 16% use web personalization frequently today, while 50% plan to do so (Deloitte and ExactTarget)


  • 82% feel under-prepared to deal with the explosion of data (Forbes)
  • 70% have suboptimal or no ability to integrate customer data between online and offline sources (Adobe)
  • 68% of organizations have a separate digital marketing budget — it averages a quarter of the total marketing budget (Forbes)
  • 66% are funding digital marketing via reinvestment of existing marketing budgets (Forbes)
  • 65% say the use of outcome-based KPIs, in order to match media investment decisions more closely to business results, was their number one priority (MediaSense)
  • 61% say data acquisition is their top internal marketing priority (Deloitte and ExactTarget)
  • 61% of CMO’s admit they have a long way to go still in using big data properly (Adobe)
  • 59% of CMO’s name flexible and agile marketing processes as a top internal marketing priority (Deloitte and ExactTarget)
  • 53% of CMOs say ROI is their most important metric used to measure success (Deloitte and ExactTarget)
  • 52% say the growth of digital marketing has led to the need for more qualified data and analytics personnel. What are the “right” metrics for CMOs? The numbers proving marketing ROI to fellow C-suite members (SalesForce)
  • Only 31% of projects use available or request marketing analytics (CMO Survey)

If you are a CMO or work with one, do these statistics reflect your priorities and challenges? Are you looking for an alternative agency to help you solve them?


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