LinkedIn study finds CMOs are under pressure to prove ROI amidst economic uncertainty


Of the CMOs interviewed globally, over 2 in 5 (45%) are financially preparing for tough times ahead

LinkedIn has revealed new research that shows the majority (77%) of global chief marketing officers (CMOs) are feeling under pressure to prove greater short-term return on investment (ROI) on their marketing campaigns as economic uncertainty forces businesses to do more with less.

LinkedIn’s study of 2,900+ C-level executives (including 494 CMOs) from large organisations across the globe, business leaders, are prioritising reducing investment in marketing and advertising, along with technology and talent, due to the current climate.

Of the CMOs interviewed globally, over 2 in 5 (45%) are financially preparing for tough times ahead. This is putting heightened pressure on marketers to prove business impact. On top of this, CMOs are concerned that uncertainty will force them to operate more reactively (32%) and curb creative campaigns (30%).

Improving CFO understanding of marketing ROI crucial to bolstering budgets

While marketing budgets are being scrutinised, a LinkedIn study of 100+ Australian B2B marketing leaders has highlighted the importance of staying top of mind amongst audiences during this time. More than three-quarters (80%) believe companies that maintain or increase their marketing spend during periods of uncertainty recover faster.

An overwhelming majority (98%) say improving chief financial officer (CFO) understanding of marketing ROI is key to strengthening future budgets.

LinkedIn’s B2B Institute finds that cutting back on marketing spend can potentially be devastating for brands, with a drop in memorability being far more costly in the long-term. The study finds that when advertisers paused advertising for a year or more, sales for brands of all sizes – whether small, medium or large – dropped by nearly 50%.

To stay top of mind, B2B marketers are keen to continue focusing on brand building, with more than a third (39%) planning to maintain or increase spend in this area over the next six months. B2B marketers say that measuring campaign effectiveness and proving ROI of marketing investments is their biggest challenge right now.

Prue Cox, LinkedIn’s director enterprise SEA, KR & ANZ marketing solutions, said: “While we know the economy is in a state of flux, it’s important that marketers continue to invest in marketing as by pulling back investment, they risk long term damage to their brand. As marketing budgets are often the first to be scrutinised and tightened in times of uncertainty, it’s important that senior leaders can show ROI to their stakeholders.

“In addition, many are concerned with employee wellbeing overall, as over a third (38%) report that burnout and exhaustion among employees is the greatest challenge they face during periods of economic uncertainty.

Speaking the language of the CFO, to demonstrate an alignment of marketing metrics to business metrics, and pulling the right strategic levers, will help maintain existing budgets and strengthen future ones. By nurturing these key relationships with important leaders, like the CFO, and using data as information, marketers can demonstrate business impact and will put brands in a much stronger position now and in the future.”

Helping B2B marketers demonstrate impact, reach audiences in new ways

To help B2B marketers measure and demonstrate the impact of their campaigns, and to help them continue investing in brand building to weather external challenges, LinkedIn will be launching new tools and ad formats:

Revenue Attribution Report: This new measurement tool helps B2B marketers demonstrate business impact and communicate ROI to stakeholders by translating campaign success into financial language that the C-suite understands. The report helps marketers measure success by attributing CRM data to their campaigns and calculating the revenue they drive.

New ad formats:
○ LinkedIn is launching a new ad format that will enable brands to promote individual employee posts, with their approval, from their company Page. This format will help them more effectively engage with their audiences, tap into the power of storytelling, and humanize their brand.
○ Click to Message Ads will allow buyers to click on an ad and instantly start a message with the brand directly from their LinkedIn feed. This helps B2B marketers personalise how they engage with potential buyers, and understand buyer intent and interest.

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