marketing nightmares

What’s Keeping CMOs and Brand Managers Up at Night?

Dealing with competition is part-and-parcel of brand marketing and management life.

Emerging technologies like AI and the metaverse, and the unrelenting quest for marketing ROI are only some of the worries keeping marketers up at night, according to a recent Brand Keys Marketing On My Mind survey. COVID-19 has had consumers, supply chains, and brands under siege for three years. Social activism and political tribalism have never been higher.

The study, first conducted in 2019 by the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy, seeks to identify the most challenging issues facing CMOs and Brand Managers.

Thirty percent (30%) of marketers’ bad dreams are new to the 2022 list of problems receiving mentions by 75%+ of the 407 CMOs and brand managers who participated in the 2022 survey. Marketers’ nightmares include dealing with COVID  issues, product availability (or lack thereof), inflation, optimizing CX, brand engagement, and ever-increasing customer expectations. And, of course, the succubus of marketing, Return-On-Investment, always #1 on marketers’ lists.

Top Marketing ‘Nightmares’

Brand Keys asked CMOs and brand managers, “What issues keep you up at night?,” with the following results. Percents indicate frequency of mention, numbers following indicate changes from pre-COVID 2019.

  1. ROI and ROMI (98%, +1%)
  2. COVID and covid-related employee management issues (95%, new)
  3. Supply chain snafus and product availability (94%, new)
  4. Inflation (92%, new)
  5. Competition from new brands (91%, new)
  6. Addressing innovation, AI, technology, the metaverse, and marketing automation (91%, -1%)
  7. Optimizing and owning CX and the customer journey (90%, new)
  8. Establishing trust between my brand the consumer (90%, -5%)
  9. Consumer expectations regarding privacy, transparency, and CSR (90%, –)
  10. Deployment of predictive consumer behavior analytics and technologies (90%, +4%)
  11. Proliferation of digital channels (89%, new)
  12. Developing long-term/new strategies that align with corporate growth goals (88%, +8%)
  13. Keeping consumers engaged with my brand (86%, +11%)
  14. Managing agency relationships (84%, new)
  15. Creating relevant and engaging advertising content and storytelling (83%, -5%)
  16. Growing consumer expectations and the gap between consumer desire and brand delivery (83%, +1%)
  17. Dealing with consumer tribalism and political dogma (82%, +5%)
  18. Data security issues (80%, -15%)
  19. Dealing with consumer advocacy and social activism (80%, -5%)
  20. Protecting my brand’s equity (80%, +1%)
  21. Creating an ‘unlearning curve’ to move away from legacy marketing metrics (79%, +4%)
  22. Being replaced by a Chief Revenue Officer or CFO (77%, +2%)
  23. Better cross-platform synergy for brand marketing (75%, –)
  24. Creating marketing synergy among different generational cohorts (75%, –)

New Bad Dreams For Brands

Newest “nightmares” visiting themselves on CMOs and brand managers this year included:

  1. COVID and COVID-related employee management issues
  2. Supply chain snafus and product availability
  3. Inflation
  4. Competition from new brands
  5. Optimizing and owning CX and the customer journey
  6. Managing agency relationships
  7. Proliferation of digital channels

Dealing with competition is part-and-parcel of brand marketing and management life. But today CMOs and brand managers are expressing worries about “new brands.” The nightmare that has taken on “monster-in-the-closet” status is “keeping consumers engaged with my brand,” which increased 11% from 2019. Combine that increased brand expectations and the terror of new brands entering the marketplace you can understand why CMOs and brand managers face sleepless nights.

Consumer Insights for Insomnia-Inducing Issues

Consumers can point the way to brand solutions. COVID and its attendant restrictions have changed the course of consumer history. But if CMOs and brand managers take a deeper look at how, what, when, and where consumers reached for their wallets before the pandemic one can see clues as to how consumers were about to transform. Those insights expose trendlines that would never have been visible otherwise.

To that end, Brand Keys recently conducted a review of its 25-year Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index database, the largest continuous database of predictive brand tracking metrics in the world.  The review provided insights from 4.3 million consumers into their brand engagement and buying behaviors, detailing their history and emerging trajectory, and how issues faced by CMOs and brand managers can be better managed for long-term success, including some problem-solution insights to ensure CMOs and brand managers get a better night’s sleep.

A free copy of that report, “A 25-Year Roadmap to Brand Loyalty,” can be downloaded here.

Robert PassikoffRobert Passikoff is founder and CEO of Brand Keys. He has received several awards for market research innovation including the prestigious Gold Ogilvy Award and is the author of 3 marketing and branding books including the best-seller, Predicting Market Success.  Robert is also a frequent contributor to TheCustomer.


Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

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