A new Financial Times and Maxus survey of global senior business leaders highlights the challenges marketers face as technological change becomes part of everyday business life. The study includes answers from more than 200 C-suite executives and senior marketers from a range of different industries.
Change is a constant for C-suite leaders, but increasingly they feel the pace of change is accelerating. Just under 90% say the rate of change in marketing communications is set to increase, yet a quarter of them do not feel their organisation is well equipped to cope.
Feeling the pressure
Proliferation and fragmentation in the media landscape is a concern for just over two thirds of C-suite marketing leaders, while just under three-quarters of brand marketers said they were affected by the decline of traditional media, with 41% viewing this decline as a threat. The changing nature of consumer media consumption is also viewed as a challenge by 40% of marketers.
Half of mid-level marketers and 39% of C-suite leaders say that planning communications is becoming harder, with a quarter saying that data and analytics are a challenge when it comes to successfully executing marketing campaigns. Nearly a quarter of senior marketers say they feel daunted by the changing consumer landscape.
New technology, changing consumer needs and increased access to information are seen as providing some of the greatest openings for businesses (71%, 62% and 55% agree respectively). These key drivers of change are best responded to by marketing professionals. As a result, these figures show there is a unique opportunity for marketers to have increased visibility at board level.
90% of C-suite leaders believe the rate of change in marketing communications is set to increase
25% of senior marketers are daunted by the constantly shifting consumer landscape
Only 2% of clients think their marketing agencies add significant value
92% of clients think they manage their agencies well
41% of brand marketers view the decline of traditional media as a threat
25% of marketers see data as a challenge when executing marketing campaigns
Opportunity for agencies
Businesses are increasingly looking to collaborate with their agency partners in ways that complement their internal skill set. However, few executives feel their agencies are delivering exceptional performance. Only 2% of clients believe their agency adds significant value, with most — 75% — rating their agency’s performance as ‘average’ or ‘quite good’.
At the same time, clients feel they manage their agency partnerships well, with 92% of C-suite clients saying that they do this successfully.
Richard Stokes, chief development officer at Maxus Global, says “The research is a clear rallying call to the agency world that we must offer more to our clients. For businesses to see the best return on the investment they make in their agency partnerships, they need to be honest about their strategic business challenges. This must come from right at the top of the client organisation.”
“Equally, given the technology changes we’re seeing and the certainty that the pace of this change will only increase, agencies must be experts with a deep understanding of technology, the consumer and the client. They need to step up to this challenge and apply their knowledge in an informed and data-driven way to help drive growth,” he adds.
Enzo Diliberto, the FT’s global insight director, adds, “The pace of change in all industries is only intensifying with technological progress. Developments come fast and often, and are almost exclusively driven by factors that are out of our control. The study among FT readers highlights a concern: that even if most leaders identify the opportunities presented by change in consumer behaviour, many large organisations are not prepared to capitalise on these.”
The study assessed the perspective of 152 C-suites and 56 senior marketers globally. The data will be analysed by Financial Times and IE Business Corporate Learning Alliance to create a forward looking guide for marketers to be published in early 2016.
This partnership between Maxus, Financial Times and IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance helps executives develop their skill set to tackle their most complex challenges.