B2B Findings From “The CMO Survey”

This post will end my discussion of several B2B-specific findings from the August 2021 edition of the CMO Survey. In my previous posts, I reviewed what the survey revealed about the state of marketing spending and the progress B2B companies have made in their digital transformation of marketing. You can find the previous two posts here and here.

The CMO Survey is a biannual survey of senior marketing leaders with US for-profit companies. The survey was conducted by Dr. Christine Moorman and sponsored by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the American Marketing Association and Deloitte LLP. A more detailed description of the survey is included in the first publication in this series.

In this post, I will focus on what the CMO survey revealed about how B2B marketers approach the ever-present challenge of measuring the impact and value of marketing.

Proving the value of B2B marketing

It is not news that marketers have been under pressure over the past several years to prove the commercial value of their activities and programs. The CMO survey found that these pressures are increasing. Fifty-three percent of survey respondents with B2B product companies said they feel increased pressure from their CEO to prove the value of marketing. For survey respondents with B2B service companies, the similar ratio was 68%.

The CMO survey also looked at the metrics companies use to measure marketing performance. She asked survey participants to distribute 100 points to reflect the degree to which their company uses seven measures of marketing performance. The following table shows how respondents with B2B companies distributed the points.

The ultimate goal of most marketing leaders is to be able to quantitatively measure the impact of marketing activities, but this can be challenging, especially when it comes to measuring the long-term impact of marketing. The CMO survey asked survey respondents which of the following three phrases best describe how they appear in the short term And Marketing effect in the long run.

  • “We are quantitatively demonstrating the effect.”
  • “We have a good qualitative sense of the effect, but not the quantitative effect.”
  • “We haven’t been able to show the effect yet.”

The following two charts show how respondents with B2B product companies and those with B2B service companies answered these questions.

These results clearly show that measuring the impact of business on marketing remains a major challenge for B2B marketers. Less than half of B2B marketers surveyed said they could quantify the short-term impact of marketing.

Fewer B2B marketers can quantify the long-term impact of marketing – only 27.5% of marketers are with B2B product companies, and only 36.4% of marketers are with B2B service companies. Even more alarming, nearly one-fifth of marketers who own B2B product businesses (18.8%), and 13.6% of marketers who own B2B service businesses can’t demonstrate the long-term impact of marketing at all.

Measuring the long-term impact of marketing is a challenging challenge for all marketers, not just B2B marketers. About a third of B2C marketers who responded to a CMO survey said they could quantify the long-term impact of their activities.

Two years ago, Google published an excellent paper discussing the “three major challenges” related to measuring marketing effectiveness. The paper’s authors acknowledge that ideal solutions to these challenges do not currently exist. In fact, the paper’s primary objective was to focus on areas where current methods of measuring marketing effectiveness are “inconsistent with the limits of the possible”.

I’ve discussed the Google Sheet in three posts, which you can find here, here, and here, and I encourage you to take the time to read the entire paper.
Top image courtesy of theilr via Flickr (CC).

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