CMOs Who’ve Led Over 1,100 Companies Positive on Accelerating Economy, Opportunities for Growth
Houston, TX – February 23, 2021– Chief Outsiders, the nation’s largest Chief Marketing Officer firm with more than 80 fractional CMOs with Fortune 500 experience, today released the results of their second annual CMO survey on what to expect this year in market trends and company growth.
“Business performance and challenges—especially amid the global pandemic—were the focus of our 2021 market outlook survey. We polled our group of top CMOs on everything from COVID-19 pivots to digital commerce tactics to the best ways to engage customers,” said Art Saxby, CEO, co-founder and principal of Chief Outsiders. “What we found will help CEOs of small- and mid-level companies to provide value where the pandemic has presented opportunities.”
“One of the most important takeaways in this survey is that COVID-19 created as many, if not more, opportunities for businesses than it eliminated through lockdowns and other measures,” said Pete Hayes, CMO and principal of Chief Outsiders. “And for private equity, one of the biggest challenges—even bigger than the pandemic—will be finding growth-minded executives focused on strategy.”
In a more than 20 percent shift from last year, the CMOs are much more optimistic about the economy and growth possibilities, even in the midst of COVID-19. Nearly half (48 percent) said economic conditions will be a positive for business performance in 2021, while a little over one-third (35.6 percent) said it would be negative. This positivity is reflected in the fact that a significant majority (62.5 percent) of CMOs think that marketing budgets—which fuel companies’ go-to-market strategies and growth—will be increased over last year.
The CMOs are divided on the pandemic’s affect on business performance and opportunities, because companies that have gone digital are doing well, while others that can’t adapt as quickly, or simply can’t conduct all their business online, are getting punished by the pandemic.
As for the government’s attempt to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic through stimulus, the CMOs are again split because different industries will benefit, or be hurt, by the government’s continued action. Nothing federal or state officials do to try and help will be a uniform solution or silver bullet.
The vast majority of CMOs (91.6 percent) say companies are far more prepared to strategically pivot now, as compared to before the pandemic. COVID-19 essentially forced businesses to reevaluate their go-to-market strategy, supply chain and other key structural processes. Now these companies are much more nimble and able to change course amid a shifting landscape.
Marketing plans and CMOs are a crucial part of every business operation, but they are changing. Marketing is no longer just about solving customer engagement or sales funnel problems. It's more and more about growth, and CMOs are expected to adapt. CMOs will be collaborating more and more with other organizational entities—R&D, sales, IT, and customer service—to meet growth goals.
The CMOs believe most companies’ digital marketing spend in 2021 will be aimed at gaining organic searches, content marketing, and email marketing. They said a big focus will be on digital content like blog posts, videos, and case studies.
They think the most vital capabilities supporting marketing strategy will be creating stronger customer experiences, better market research, and overall more thoughtful marketing tactics. On a similar note, the CMOs said customer engagement tactics cannot be overlooked.
Meanwhile, they think advancements in predictive analytics (AI) will have a broad affect, especially on the following:
The CMOs said that the biggest growth challenge facing private equity portfolio companies in 2021 will be attracting growth minded executives focused on strategy. They view this as a bigger hurdle than even COVID-19. It’s especially important for GPs to get this right because LPs will be even more demanding of growth in 2021 than they were in 2020.
In a shift from last year, the CMOs outlook is relatively positive for retailers amid Amazon’s domination of e-commerce, this despite their massive growth over the past 12 months due in part to the pandemic. Only 11.1 percent of CMOs expressed a negative outlook. In regards to how to approach the e-commerce giant’s dominance, they are of the opinion that direct-to-consumer strategies (DTC) are the best way for businesses to thrive. Secondarily, they think companies should focus on more narrowly focused retail platforms, as well as to work within Amazon’s parameters to deliver results.
The entire survey results, including all charts and graphs, can be downloaded here.
About Chief Outsiders
Chief Outsiders, LLC is a nationwide "Executives-as-a-Service" firm, with more than 80 part-time, or fractional, Chief Marketing Officers/Chief Marketing Outsiders (CMOs) engaged from coast-to-coast. Unlike other strategic marketing and management consulting firms, each CMO has held the position of VP Marketing or higher at one or more operating companies. Chief Outsiders have served on the executive team of over 1,100 client companies to drive growth strategy and execution plans by offering instant access to talent with highly customized and flexible engagements.
Because of its market-based growth plans, quality of leadership, and experienced team, Chief Outsiders has been recognized for the past seven years by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest growing privately held companies in the US, and was recognized in 2019 as a Forbes Small Giant. Chief Outsiders’ CEO Art Saxby and Principal Pete Hayes are the co-authors of “The Growth Gears: Using a Market-Based Framework to Drive Business Success,” an Amazon #1 best-seller for business owners and CEOs. For additional information about the companies who trust Chief Outsiders as their premier source for business growth acceleration, click here.
CONTACT: Sterling Wilkinson, SWilkinson@ChiefOutsiders.com
Topics: Press Release2.23.2021