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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2018-11-28

It’s never easy to build a marketing budget, especially when macroeconomic uncertainties abound – from stock market fluctuations, to interest rate hikes and more. But when it comes to your marketing technology (martech) priorities, fortunately we have Gartner’s 2019 CMO Spend Survey to guide us. Gartner recently polled over 600 marketing leaders across North America and the U.K. to benchmark the state of their 2019 spend. Here are my key takeaways for email marketers:


  • Overall spending down, martech spending up: According to the report, marketing budgets are declining slightly in 2019 as a percentage of company revenue – 11.2 % compared to 12.1% just two years ago. But martech has grown to now take up 29% of overall marketing budgets, compared to just 22% in 2017. In fact, martech is now the largest marketing expense, higher than paid media, marketing agencies and even marketing labor itself.


  • Email still crucial: Email marketing platforms top the martech spend lists, followed by web content management systems and digital marketing analytics. In addition, email is a key element of what Gartner calls marketing’s “digital workhorses” (which also includes web and paid and organic search). These workhorses comprise a quarter (25%) of the average marketing spend. Clearly, email remains a priority in marketing investments for the coming year, as it is easy to measure, shows proven ROI and often faces little challenge sourcing in-house talent to manage it.


  • Personalization matters: With increased focus on customer experience today, personalization has emerged as an important marketing capability: CMOs spend an average of 14.2% of their budgets on personalization efforts. But personalization requires accurate customer data -- and a lot of it – along with the ability to leverage this data legally (relative to privacy regulations). It also takes planning and expertise to be successful.


  • Willingness to innovate: CMOs say that 16% of their budgets are allocated to innovation and most (63%) expect this number to grow in 2019. Despite these ambitions, CMOs rated themselves relatively low in innovation maturity and their ability to actually innovate. To help mitigate problems here, Gartner recommends that CMOs have a roadmap for integrating applications, marketing and customer data to avoid costly compatibility mistakes.


  • Key metrics to track – and avoid: According to another CMO survey by Forbes and Trade Desk, the most important metrics that prove the value of marketing to the C-suite are return on investment (31%), customer loyalty and retention (31%), sales revenue (28%) and customer acquisition cost (25%). The LEAST valued metrics include subscribers (9%), bounce rate (10%) and traffic by channel or device (11%). These latter metrics are more for marketing executives to track amongst themselves, as they are considered “vanity” metrics by executives.


With the choppy seas of uncertainty ahead, marketers may still have funds and data at their disposal, but expectations for their ability to drive results continues to escalate. Fortunately, as email continues to show proven ROI and an ability to deliver new customers and revenue, it’s the one marketing element that will again add stability to marketers’ journeys in 2019.


What’s at the top of your martech spend list for the year ahead?



Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI by targeting your best prospects – including top-level executives -- and, ultimately, converting more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.

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