Confessions of a CMO: How hidden costs are reshaping marketing realities

by | Jul 10, 2023 | Marketing, Public Relations

As emerging tech floods into business operations, martech is presenting problems for CMOs, marketing agencies and departments, new research from digital experience platform provider Optimizely finds, revealing that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of marketing leaders feel that their tech stacks don’t function as seamlessly as they should.

Based on a survey with survey partner Wakefield Research of over 300 U.S. senior marketing executives at companies with 100+ employees, the firm’s new research report, Confessions of a CMO: Uncovering Hidden Costs Impacting ROI, uncovers hidden marketing costs, technological deficiencies, pain points, and potential solutions.

Confessions of a CMO: How hidden costs are reshaping marketing realities

“No one likes to waste money, and marketing leaders have shown they are far too often spending on tools they know don’t fully address their pain points,” said Shafqat Islam, Optimizely’s chief marketing officer, in a news release. “This data supports what we understand at Optimizely—marketing tech should not be a burden, but empower greater creativity, collaboration, and productivity within teams. We believe that teams should have the option to leverage these capabilities from consolidated, high-quality vendors that reduce TCO and improve interoperability.”

Beyond that, the survey looked ahead at where marketing teams are aiming to invest, and found 92 percent of senior marketing executives say they are looking to adopt generative AI capabilities.

Marketing challenges to making sound investment decisions:

Confessions of a CMO: How hidden costs are reshaping marketing realities

Additional key takeaways from the study include:

Hidden costs are holding marketers back

  • 76 percent of senior marketers are skeptical that their marketing tools will generate the ROI they are hoping for.
  • Senior marketers report that about 23 percent of their un-integrated tech results in unnecessary redundancy.
  • 70 percent of senior marketers admit their organizations approve investments in new technology solutions without a defined ROI plan sometimes, very often, or all the time.

The new martech stack tools are being left to rust

  • 53 percent of senior marketers report companies use older solutions rather than investing in new tools because of the cost and time it would take to retrain staff.
  • The other main reasons teams’ martech stacks aren’t up to date:
    • 43 percent say leaders are too attached to the old solutions.
    • 42 percent say the team is afraid to let go of a few specific functions.
    • 39 percent say the rollout was disrupted and never resumed.

Overburdened with too many tools, marketing teams rely heavily on IT professionals

  • 95 percent of senior marketers whose companies use 20+ tools agreed: marketers are leaning too heavily on the IT team.
  • 52 percent of senior marketers are very or extremely reliant on their IT team for the day-to-day use of marketing tools.
  • 85 percent of senior marketers said their IT team is left to make marketing decisions despite a lack of relevant experience.

In search of efficient creativity, marketers are jumping into generative AI

  • 44 percent of marketers report their company will adopt generative AI quickly.
  • 48 percent will adopt it later once bugs are worked out.

The most beneficial generative AI abilities according to senior marketers:

Confessions of a CMO: How hidden costs are reshaping marketing realities

Download the full report here.

The Optimizely Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 300 U.S. Senior Marketing Executives, with a minimum seniority of Director, at companies with 100 or more employees, between May 16th and May 24th, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 5.7 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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