3 Questions Gartner's CMO Spend Survey Raises About Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The year of 2016 is well underway, and you may be asking yourself if your digital strategy is well-poised to compete in today’s incredibly competitive digital economy. Budgets and responsibilities continue to expand for marketers as consumers’ expectations evolve. 

Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2015-2016: Digital Marketing Comes of Age has plenty of insights to help you assess if your digital marketing strategy and budget are competitive. Here’s what you need to know, and three questions you should be asking about your 2016 strategy. 

1) How integrated is your marketing strategy?

Gartner suggests that digital marketing is now mainstream, reporting that 98% of marketers affirm that offline and online marketing are merging. Truth be told, a client-focused marketing approach merged offline and online years ago. 

The concept of “post-digital marketing” has been buzzing around the industry for a few years now. Simply stated, it’s the idea that digital marketing shouldn’t be treated separately. However, this isn’t a novel concept. Digital has become so pervasive in everything that we do as consumers and businesses that a client-centric approach treats digital as one of many channels in a connected communications strategy. 

Perhaps one of the most surprising statistics from the survey states that only 10% of marketers have moved beyond digital marketing to create digitally led business models. Today’s consumers live in a digital-driven world. They don’t think in terms of digital and analogue, so either should businesses. If you haven’t considered digital as a driving component of a holistic marketing strategy, now is the time to do so.

2) How are you leveraging digital commerce? 

Digital commerce poses a huge opportunity for modern day marketers. Nearly 11% of marketing budgets now go to digital commerce, which makes it the top-ranked area of investment for marketing technology. 

More marketers are moving towards a closed-loop approach by aligning efforts with the online sales cycle. For example, content marketing is being used to drive awareness and engagement, while advanced analytics and multichannel campaign management help optimize sales across online channels. This approach enables marketers to easily tie spend to revenue.

Though digital commerce has long been considered a staple of B2C marketing, more B2B companies are exploring how to best leverage digital commerce initiatives to reach and engage with customers. 

3) Are you delivering a profitable return on marketing spend?

Gartner’s survey shows that digital marketing budgets are on the rise, with 2 out of 3 marketers expecting their 2016 budgets to increase. Growing customer expectations are pushing larger marketing budgets. However, with bigger budgets come higher expectations. More than 73% of marketers now own or share P&L responsibility.

As digital marketing spend continues to increase, it’s imperative to ensure it delivers a profitable return on business growth. Consumers expectations will continue to shift, as they always do. To keep up, marketers need to ask themselves if they are investing enough, and more importantly, investing in the right way.