NEWS18 June 2020

Marketing grew in importance during pandemic, CMO survey finds

B2B Covid-19 Media News North America

US – The proportion of company budgets dedicated to marketing increased during Covid-19 as the function grew in importance, according to research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Jar of money labelled 'budget'

Three in 10 chief marketers surveyed for the latest CMO Survey reported no change in their marketing budgets during the pandemic, while 41% reported gains and 28% said that budgets had decreased.

Spend on marketing relative to total company budgets grew during the pandemic, with marketing budgets increasing to 12.6% of company budgets on average in May – the highest recorded in the survey (compared with 11.3% in February). Marketing expenses accounted for 11.4% of company revenues, according to the research, up from 8.6% in February.  

The majority of respondents ( 62%) reported that the marketing function had increased in importance within their organisation during the pandemic, 27% reported no change to the role of marketing and 11% said it had decreased in importance.

Over half of respondents ( 59%) said they had used ‘quick research’ with customers to guide their marketing strategies during the pandemic, however this was higher for tech companies ( 82%) compared with only a third ( 33%) of retail/wholesale businesses.

On average, marketers in the survey were more likely to use internal sources of information to shape their strategies. The knowledge and experiences of marketing team members was the most popular source of information ( 83%) followed by that of senior management ( 81%), the sales team ( 70%) and partners ( 63%).

When asked how they used their marketing employees during the pandemic, 69% of respondents selected ‘getting active online to promote the company and its offerings’. Developing promotional strategies ( 66%), contacting customers with information ( 65%), and improving digital interfaces ( 62%) and customer experiences ( 54%) were the biggest activities, while 46% of firms asked marketing staff to perform customer research.

The survey was conducted between 5th-27th May with a sample of 2,654 senior marketers at for-profit US companies. 274 responded, giving a 10.32% response rate, and 97% of respondents were vice-president-level or above.