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50% Of North American CMOs Are Mostly Using New Strategies to Respond to the Economic Environment


A deeper dive into dentsu’s most recent ‘Navigator’ report, 'Transforming the Business to Enable New Responses to the Market'

50% Of North American CMOs Are Mostly Using New Strategies to Respond to the Economic Environment

Dentsu’s bi-annual CMO Navigator survey reports on the priorities, opportunities, challenges, and areas of investment that are top of mind for North American CMOs. These actionable reports explore how North American CMOs’ mindsets and strategies are evolving, and how they’re adjusting to fit the needs of their business and consumers.

As each report launches, LBB will speak to dentsu’s Jack Boitani, VP, content, and Megan Keane, VP, integrated strategy, who work closely together on each report, to find out more about what they discovered.

Download the full report here.

Q> What are you trying to explore with this report? 

Jack and Megan> We established the CMO Navigator – a series of twice-a-year surveys and reports (Spring & Fall) that focus on the mindset, challenges, and strategies of North American marketing leaders – about a year ago as a companion piece to our ongoing Consumer Navigator series. Our aim is to help brands prepare for what’s next and we felt that, in this spirit, it would be valuable to provide marketers not only with consumer sentiment insights, but also with a way to explore how their peers’ mindset is evolving. Just like in our Consumer Navigator series, we have several metrics like business results, expected budgets and points of view on the role of marketing that we report on in each CMO Navigator instalment, and then ‘special topics’ that are unique to each issue. In this one, we decided to focus on CMOs’ response to the economic environment, their views on innovation, and their expectations towards AI.

Q> Why are we focusing on this topic now? 

Jack and Megan> With regards to the economic environment, in our Fall ’22 edition we had found a majority of CMOs were concerned about a possible recession – but at the same time they remained optimistic about an improved economic outlook and marketing’s increasingly elevated role in shaping it. Since the climate of economic uncertainty had persisted, we wanted to check in to see whether their optimism also had.

Something else that had emerged in our Fall report was that CMOs were to innovation as a way to respond to the challenges associated with the economy. This is why in this report we decided to focus on CMOs’ attitudes toward innovation, wanting to understand what actions they take, what investments they make, and what individuals and partners they turn to as they try to improve their organisations’ ability to innovate.

Focusing on AI was a no-brainer. It’s so prominent in industry discussions at the moment, ever since ChatGTP reached 1 million users in only five days (vs. 75 days it took for Instagram to reach the same level of adoption, and the 150 days it took Spotify). We had also surveyed consumers on their feelings towards AI in March, so we thought it would be interesting to compare it and contrast it with CMOs’ views on the subject.

Q> What insight surprised you the most? 

Jack and Megan> Overall, it was surprising to see how many CMOs are looking to new strategies to respond to the economic environment, reflecting a continued optimism towards the future economic outlook, a high confidence in marketing’s strategic role, and an innovative mindset. 50% of CMOs told us they are prioritising mostly new strategies, while 48% are pursuing a mix of new strategies and strategies they had deployed in response to similar situations in the past. In general, there is a consensus that existing playbooks aren’t suited for the challenges and opportunities we’re seeing emerge right now, and most CMOs are prioritising investment strategies rather than retreating into saving and cost-cutting measures.

Q> What’s the most important lesson for brands to take coming from this data?

Jack and Megan> There is a consensus between CMOs and consumers on several responsibilities brands when it comes to AI, such as being transparent about its use across a number of areas (including disclosing to consumers if a piece of content like a commercial was created using AI), ensuring that existing biases and systems of inequalities are not propagated by AI applications, and limiting AI adoption in the next five years to protect ‘human jobs.’ CMOs’ consensus on this latter point is especially significant considering 87% of them told us that adoption will have a significant, if not critical, impact on their organisations’ ability to meet their business goals. Brands will need to be extremely strategic and develop a roadmap that allows them not to fall behind the competition, but at the same time live up to consumer expectations by adopting and using AI responsibly.

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dentsu, Fri, 02 Jun 2023 16:59:00 GMT