Planning for Uncertainty: Insights from the 2022 Gartner CMO Spend Survey

by | Sep 14, 2022

The pandemic and current global economic turmoil has flipped most of that upside down, making the FY ‘23 budget planning process, well, interesting. 

With so many unknowns and impossible to model scenarios, we’re in for a delicate process.   Are we really in a recession? What impact will this all have on my business? My pipeline? My customers? And where should I invest my dollars for maximum impact? Or the flip-side, minimal downside.

Like most of my peers, I benchmark my spend plans against industry data including the amazing, annual CMO Spend Survey published by our friends at Gartner. If you don’t have a copy, Gartner lets you download one here. Couple of interesting take-aways for me this year include:

Getting back to basics: Campaigns and brand strategy.

I grew up in the tech B2B marketing world where campaigns and brand were key pillars of every go-to-market plan.  Carefully building full funnel and lifecycle campaigns to nurture prospects and customers through an orchestrated, persona-based journey usually led to measurable results and pipeline impact. And the CMOs surveyed in Gartner’s study seem to agree as they report spend plans with nearly 20% going to campaigns and brand activation.

Budgets are up, but not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.  

This is good news for CMOs, giving us more fuel in the tank to do our jobs. I’m taking a close look at our clients, their businesses, their customers, and how we can invest to drive their goals amidst this dynamic and uncertain time. For one of my clients with stalled pipeline and canceled orders, I’m looking to shift spend to retention marketing to mitigate further losses and set up for add-on and expansion. One colleague, a CMO for a consumer goods company, is spending more time on scenario planning so he can expand and contract spend quickly if his market dynamics shift. Good idea.  

Event spend is bouncing back.  

This is great news for most marketers, as field events have always been a key pillar in most go-to-market plans. Nothing replaces getting face to face (or even mask to mask) with customers and prospects. And for me, getting to demo live to a crowd and make eye contact, answer questions, listen and learn from their feedback and questions is an experience that really hasn’t been replicated on webinars and other remote meeting platforms. Call me old school. It’s just not the same. And events are a real boost for brand awareness too. The Gartner survey notes B2B respondents are allocating 21.9% of their offline spend to events.

 

In-house talent is lacking.  

In fact, 58% of the CMOs in the Gartner study reported gaps in capabilities across their teams, most notably with marketing data and analytics, customer experience management and marketing technology. The good news here is that many full-service agencies (like Park & Battery!) have expertise in these areas, making it a great option for CMOs who need this help but can’t hire. Headcount freezes are everywhere across B2B, B2C and B2B2C in many verticals as CEOs carefully watch the global economic swings.  

At Park and Battery, we’ve built industry and award-winning expertise in our team with these core capabilities, so we can partner with our portfolio clients to fill the gaps. Give us a call for a free health check to explore how we can help you plan effectively in these dynamic, or rather interesting, times.

Karyn Scott

CMO-In-Residence

As Park & Battery’s CMO In Residence, Karyn Scott is a twenty-five-year marketing executive with leadership experience at technology champions and challengers alike. Karyn acts as a fractional CMO and c-suite advisor for numerous early-stage startups throughout Silicon Valley. Prior to that, Karyn was Chief Marketing Officer at Kloudspot, developers of the first AI-driven situational awareness and intelligence platform, and SVP, Head of Global Marketing at Flexport, the SoftBank-backed, San Francisco-based unicorn freight tech innovator.

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