CMOs unprepared to manage complexity, IBM study finds

ARMONK, NY: The four biggest challenges facing marketing executives are social media, the proliferation of devices and channels, shifting consumer demographics, and the explosion of data, according to the 2011 IBM Global CMO Study.

ARMONK, NY: The four biggest challenges facing marketing executives are social media, the proliferation of devices and channels, shifting consumer demographics, and the explosion of data, according to the 2011 IBM Global CMO Study.

The technology company conducted the survey through face-to-face conversations with 1,734 executives across 19 industries in 64 countries between February and June.

“One of the most interesting things is how stretched CMOs are feeling these days,” said Carolyn Heller Baird, CRM research lead at IBM, who was also global director of the study.

Respondents said market and technology factors are the two most powerful forces affecting their organizations, and they expressed concern over being able to manage the complexity.

For example, 79% of CMOs said they anticipate a high or very high level of complexity in the next five years, but only 48% say they feel ready to handle it.

“There were only two items actually, regulatory considerations and corporate transparency, where [about] half said they thought they were OK, but even those came in at 47% and 50%,” said Baird. “So these guys are really, really dealing with some major changes in marketing, and they're going through some major transformations.”

The study also found that half (50%) of CMOs feel unprepared to provide hard numbers representing ROI, though nearly two-thirds (63%) of them feel that by 2015, marketing ROI will be the primary measure of effectiveness.

“They have reached a point in the profession where they are really in need of some key solutions where technology can really help them out in ways they haven't really experienced before,” said Baird.

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