Digital transformation hindered by short-term goals

A global Dentsu survey of CMOs reveals a gap between chief marketers' priorities and their ability to deliver on them.

A new Dentsu Aegis Network survey of global CMOs suggests a significant gap exists between the number of marketers who believe in the importance of digital transformation and the number who have the resources to implement change.

A total of 1,000 CMOs across ten different markets responded to Dentsu’s survey in May. The need to drive transformation through digital is recognized as imperative by 80% of the marketers surveyed, who also believe they should focus more heavily on product and service innovation over the next two or three years.

But the agency network’s survey reveals of number of challenges for chief marketers, namely gaps between what they view as important for the future and their ability to execute on those priorities.

For instance, 85% said they believe creativity is critical to future business success, while only 54% believe they are delivering well today. A similar discrepancy was found between the importance given to customer experience and commerce across channels, with 83% believing it’s important and only 60% believing they are on their way to delivering on that goal.

The largest gap, however, concerns data management and analytics, which 84% of CMOs view as important for future success, but only 49% feel confident in their current capabilities.

One of the obstacles for CMOs appears to be budgetary, as many of the ones surveyed report feeling pressured to deliver on short-term over more long-term results. An “inability to secure long-term investment” was ranked as a top-three concern among half of all CMOs surveyed, outranking both access to talent and “competing boardroom agendas.”

Globally, 41% of respondents predict their budgets will flatline or decline over the next year, even though 64% expect to see revenue growth over the same period. And 64% also said they anticipate coming under further pressure to demonstrate short-term results, with almost half of all CMOs revealing their marketing strategies already only extend to two years or less, “reflecting a business focus on near-term goals,” according to Dentsu.