Accenture published the findings of its 2013/14 CMO Insights survey, the fourth in a series of studies that are aimed at capturing the opinions, challenges, and points of view of senior marketing executives. The results of the 2013/14 survey are based on responses from 581 senior marketers from 11 countries and 10 distinct industries. The Accenture study primarily reflects the views of marketers in larger enterprises. Ninety-one percent (91%) of the survey respondents were from companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenues.
As you might expect, an overwhelming majority of respondents to the Accenture survey believe that the marketing world is changing rapidly, largely because of the proliferation of digital technologies and communications channels. Over three-quarters (78%) of the respondents said that marketing will change in fundamental ways over the next five years.
Accenture also asked survey participants what specific changes they expect to see in marketing over the next five years, and the table below shows how respondents ranked 10 possible changes.
The top three changes shown in the above table should not be surprising to anyone. The growing importance of data analytics, digital marketing, and mobile marketing has been widely discussed over the past few years.
I suggest that the next three changes shown in the above table may be just as profound. The changes ranked 4 and 6 would involve a dramatic shift in the core practice and function of marketing. Marketers have long used campaigns as the basis for planning and organizing marketing efforts. Today, a growing number of marketing thought leaders are contending that the campaign paradigm is becoming obsolete, largely because both consumers and business buyers now control when and how they will interact with brands. The Accenture survey results indicate that many enterprise marketers are drawing the same conclusion.
The need for a clear alignment between marketing and sales has been a hot topic in B2B marketing circles for the past few years. Several marketing thought leaders have argued that alignment does not go far enough and that many B2B companies should integrate marketing and sales to create a unified demand generation function. As the above table shows, over one-third (34%) of the respondents to the Accenture survey believe that marketing, sales, and customer service will be merged into a single business function.
In many ways, the Accenture survey confirms what we already knew – that marketing is experiencing a period of dramatic and fundamental change. At ADAM, we believe that whatever changes occur in marketing over the next few years, one thing is certain – technology will play a larger and increasingly critical role in how marketing is done.