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A Long List of Concerns Worry CMOs and Brand Managers

Marketing has taken on more responsibilities since the pandemic, but with responsibility comes accountability. As such, ROI and ROMI continues to be the number one concern for CMOs and brand managers, according to the latest annual Marketing On My Mind survey [pdf] from Brand Keys.

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In fact, virtually all (99%) of the 522 CMOs and brand managers surveyed agreed that ROI/ROMI is a problem area that keeps them up at night, consistent with results from about 6 months ago. This overarching concern looks far from going away, given that in a recent report, more than 8 in 10 marketers in the US said that they were feeling either significantly more (39%) or a little more (43%) pressure on them to prove ROI/ROAS as a result of the rising cost of living and costs of doing business.

The economic climate is also weighing on marketers’ minds, with 98% pointing to inflation/recession as a problem area, up 1% points from the previous survey, and also moving up a position into the second-ranked worry.

Following the broader economic condition is pressure for increased profits/shareholder value, which has also been cited by slightly more respondents this time around (97%) than last (96%), moving up a spot to the third-ranked concern.

A new problem area in the survey, budget cuts (separately reported by CMOs and aligned with economic conditions) have been cited by 96% of respondents to this latest edition of the research, the 4th-most cited problem area.

Rounding out the top 5 is competition from new brands (96%), consistent with the prior survey. Also cited by 95% is the problem of identifying brand purpose and ESG issues, with this rising significantly from 88% of respondents last time, when it was the 10th-ranked concern.

Indeed, this latest survey pinpoints some areas of growing concern for CMOs and brand managers. Fully 94% are worried about optimizing the customer experience (CX), with this up by 8% points from 86% in the previous edition. Moreover, 93% are concerned with aligning their brand with consumer expectations, up 8% points from 85%, which in turn had been up from 79% in the previous survey. And keeping consumers engaged with the brand has risen into the top 10, cited by 92% of respondents, up from 85%.

By contrast, issues related to the pandemic have definitely receded from CMOs’ minds. Whereas work-from-home/remote working/return-to-office issues had been the second-most cited worry in the prior survey, in this edition this problem has tumbled all the way to 32nd on the list, cited by relatively few (75% of) respondents. Likewise, COVID and covid-related management issues, previously the 9th-most cited worry, has plummeted to #33 on this list, also cited by three-quarters of the surveyed CMOs and brand managers.

Other problem areas that have faded include dealing with political dogma (cited this time by 88% at #18, down from #6), and the metaverse (75% at #31, down from #18). To make it onto the list, the various problem areas must be indicated to be a concern by at least three-quarters of respondents, and this time around, two that had been on the list fell off. The first of those, that remote work will upset creativity, is now a worry for only about 6 in 10 (59% of) CMOs and brand managers, down from 75% in the last survey. And the second of those, burnout, now concerns fewer than half (45%) of respondents, compared to three-quarters in the previous edition.

For more, check out the full list of worries here.

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