The CMO Survey Mission

The CMO Survey Mission

The CMO Survey collects and disseminates the opinions of top marketers in order to predict the future of markets, track marketing excellence, and improve the value of marketing in firms and in society.

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View August 2014 Results from The CMO Survey

View August 2014 Results from The CMO Survey

Read three different reports and watch a video of survey director Professor Christine Moorman discussing results. Learn More

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Best Practice From Marketing Leaders

Best Practice From Marketing Leaders

Interviews with CMOs offer insights into best practices in marketing strategy, organization, and metrics. Learn More

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The CMO Survey Award for Marketing Excellence

The CMO Survey Award for Marketing Excellence

For the 7th consecutive time, Apple has been identified as the company that sets the standard for excellence in marketing across all industries. Learn More about industry winners.

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Tweet this: Social media important to company performance but difficult to prove

September 3, 2014

New results from The CMO Survey point to this disconnect. Social media spending is currently 9.4% of marketing budgets and is expected to increase 128% to 21.4% in the next five years (see Figure 1). However, the 351 marketing leaders responding to August 2014 survey overwhelmingly report that proof lags spending and only 15% of marketers report their companies can show the impact of social media using quantitative approaches.

What’s the buzz? Companies experienced a 25% percent increase in sales through the Internet in the last year—from 8.9% to 11.3% of sales. There does appear to be a sizable opportunity in reaching customers through the Internet that underlies this spending push. Consistent with this view, digital marketing, more broadly, is expected to increase 10.8% in the next year, while traditional advertising budgets are predicted to decrease 3.6%. In other words, there is a signal in all this buzz.

Figure 1. Social media spending as a percent of marketing budget

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Pinning it down: Demonstrating the effect of these spending increases on businesses remains a challenge. Forty-five percent of marketers have not been able to demonstrate this impact at all while 40% have qualitative proof only. Getting that all-important quantitative proof, which only 15% have, is essential to justifying this spending (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. How companies demonstrate the impact of social media spending

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Doing so will likely require more spending on measuring marketing ROI. Survey results indicate that companies spend only 2.3% of marketing budgets on measuring marketing ROI. It will also require companies to rethink the way they approach such measurement. Survey results also indicate that only 11.9% of companies surveyed use experiments—a method that allows marketers to know with certainty what, whether, and to what degree social media spending impacts performance.