• April 18, 2022

What Keeps CMOs Up at Night?

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COVID-19 has had consumers, supply chains, and companies under siege for three years. Social activism and political tribalism have never been higher. Emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence and the metaverse, and the unrelenting demand to continually prove marketing’s value are some of the concerns keeping marketers up at night, according to Brand Keys’ 2022 “Marketing on My Mind” survey.

“Thirty percent of marketers’ bad dreams are new to the 2022 list of problems receiving mentions by more than 75 percent of the 407 CMOs and brand managers who participated in the 2022 survey,” says Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys.

In the survey, which Brand Keys has conducted every year since 2019, this year’s marketing nightmares include COVID-related issues, such as supply chain disruptions, remote work, and vaccine and masking policies, as well as product availability (or lack thereof), inflation, optimizing CX and the customer journey, brand engagement, and ever-rising customer expectations. “And the succubus of marketing—return on investment or return on marketing investment—is always number one on the list,” Passikoff says.

The top marketing nightmares were as follows:

  1. ROI and ROMI (98 percent);
  2. COVID and related employee management issues (95 percent);
  3. supply chain snafus and product availability (94 percent);
  4. inflation (92 percent);
  5. competition from new brands (91 percent);
  6. addressing innovation, AI, technology, the metaverse, and marketing automation (91 percent);
  7. optimizing and owning CX and the customer journey (90 percent);
  8. establishing trust between my brand and the consumer (90 percent);
  9. consumer expectations regarding privacy and transparency (90 percent);
  10. deployment of predictive consumer behavior analytics and technologies (90 percent);
  11. proliferation of digital channels (89 percent);
  12. developing long-term/new strategies that align with corporate growth goals (88 percent);
  13. keeping consumers engaged with my brand (86 percent);
  14. managing agency relationships (84 percent);
  15. creating relevant and engaging advertising content and storytelling (83 percent);
  16. growing consumer expectations and the gap between consumer desire and brand delivery (83 percent);
  17. dealing with consumer tribalism and political dogma (82 percent);
  18. data security issues (80 percent);
  19. dealing with consumer advocacy and social activism (80 percent);
  20. protecting my brand’s equity (80 percent);
  21. creating an unlearning curve to move away from legacy marketing metrics (79 percent);
  22. being replaced by a chief revenue officer or chief financial officer (77 percent);
  23. better cross-platform synergy for brand marketing (75 percent); and
  24. creating marketing synergy among different generational cohorts (75 percent).

“Dealing with competition has always been an integral aspect of brand marketing and management life. But today CMOs and brand managers are expressing worries about new brands. The nightmare that has taken on monster-in-the-closet status is keeping consumers engaged with my brand, increasing by 11 percent over the past three years. If you combine that brand expectation inflation with the terror of new brands entering the marketplace, you can understand why CMOs and brand managers face sleepless nights,” Passikoff says.

Passikoff suggests, though, that CMOs can look to consumers for help overcoming their fears.

“Who better than consumers to point the way to brand solutions?” he says. “Nobody can deny that COVID and its attendant restrictions have changed the course of consumer history. But if CMOs and brand managers take a deeper look at how, what, when, and where consumers reached for their wallets before the pandemic, one can see clues as to how consumers were about to transform. Those insights expose trend lines that would never have been visible otherwise.”

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