NEWS14 October 2020

Consumer insight key priority for CMOs in Covid-19 recovery

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GLOBAL – The key challenge facing chief marketing officers is understanding which consumer behaviours will change permanently as a result of Covid-19, according to a survey from Dentsu.

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Four in 10 chief marketing offers surveyed ( 40%) said their most significant challenge over the next six to 12 months is understanding what is a temporary shift in consumer behaviour compared with permanent changes.

Other top challenges for marketers are how to align with new and changing consumer sentiment ( 39%) and handling a decline in consumer spend ( 39%).

Almost half of participants ( 49%) reported that they are basing their response to the pandemic on strategies pursued in previous recessions.

The research, conducted in May-June, also found that almost two-thirds ( 62%) of chief marketing officers reported that their budgets are forecast to decline or remain flat during the next year.

Based on its analysis of the research, Dentsu has identified a cohort of chief marketing officers that it called ‘frontier CMOs’ – defined as those who believe their organisations are well prepared to manage the next six months of the crisis.

Understanding changing consumer behaviour and undertaking market research is the most popular future strategy for this group, according to the report.

Dentsu market research consultancy B2B International conducted the online survey of 1,361 chief marketing officers (or equivalent) in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, UK and the US.

At least 100 responses were collected per country. Respondents were from a range of company sizes, with 40% from companies with over 1,000 employees.

Wendy Clark, chief executive, Dentsu International, said: “The Covid-19 global health crisis has yielded an incisive economic downturn that creates an unknown and largely unpredictable environment for CMOs to navigate. Our survey reveals there is a risk that CMOs are still using existing approaches to manage a challenge that is without precedent.”

“However, we also see a new cadre of frontier CMOs emerging who are leading their organisations into the unknown with confidence. These CMOs are putting consumer intelligence at the heart of their brands, matched by deep integration across all elements of the marketing mix and radical collaboration as a default across their business.”