CMO Survey: Digital Marketing to Grow to 54% of Budget in 5 Years

BY Kathy Crosett
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In the past year, businesses increased their marketing budgets by 7.5 percent. Businesses anticipate allocating the same increase to marketing in the coming year. This news comes from the August 2018 CMO Survey sponsored by Duke’s Fuqua School of Management, Deloitte and the American Marketing Association.

Business sectors with the highest expected increases in marketing budgets include health care, tech/​biotech/​software and communications and media. We can expect establishments in the banking and consumer services sectors to increase their marketing budgets at a lower rate. Despite the overall increase in the marketing budget, as a percent of sales the figure stands at 7.3% of revenue, which is slightly lower than the 7.9% amount it held in February 2018.

Digital Marketing

All sectors tracked by the CMO Survey will increase their digital marketing spend in the next year. Specific planned increase by business type are:

  • B2B Product 13.9%
  • B2B Services 13.2%
  • B2C Product 12.1%
  • B2C Services 7.4%

On average, traditional media spending will take another hit of about 1.2%. The biggest cuts will take place at B2C product companies: 4.8 percent. These changes speak to a general trend in the shift of marketing budgets to digital formats. Currently, non-​digital formats amount to about 55.3% of the marketing budgets. Five years from now, non-​digital formats will have 45.4%, and digital will have 54.1% of the marketing spend.

A glimpse into the planned spending categories shows why digital is accounting for a larger piece of the spending pie. Marketers are using part of their marketing budgets for:

  • CRM spending 9.5%
  • New product introduction 6.3%
  • Brand spending 7.3%
  • New service introduction 6.1%

All of these categories, except new product introduction spending, have decreased since February 2018.


The growth of mobile marketing is also fueling the general business shift to digital formats. About 9.4% of marketing budgets now go to mobile. During the next three years, businesses will nearly double their spending on mobile marketing. At that point, it’s projected to reach 18 percent.

Social Media

Social media spending holds a key position in business marketing plans. In August 2018, social media accounted for 13.8% of all marketing spending. Currently, B2C product companies spend the most on this form of marketing: 18.6 percent. In another 12 months, business managers predict that social media spending will consume 16.3% of the marketing budget. Nearly 25% of businesses now say they can quantitatively prove the impact of social media on their bottom line. That detail certainly accounts for the confidence businesses have in terms of increasing their spending on social media.

Are your clients spending enough on social media? Help them gauge their efforts by running a Digital Audit, available at AdMall from SalesFuel. Using this report, you can show them where their target audiences spend time on social media and where their marketing activities could be falling short.