Over 70% of CMOs to Buy More Digital Media in 2021

BY Kathy Crosett
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With big sectors of the economy struggling with recessionary conditions, analysts expect CMOs to buy more digital media. Your clients are also making changes which will impact marketing budgets outlook for 2021. In some cases, they’re shifting resources from traditional to digital channels instead of increasing the marketing budget. And they’re also making more decisions internally instead of relying on outside experts.

The Annual CMO Spend Survey from Gartner shows that 32% of marketers have moved some of their outsourced work in-​house. Of those businesses, 53% now handle more social marketing and manage creative production/​content marketing themselves. CMOs report that they intend to save money and increase control over brand messaging during this particularly critical time.

However, costs can be tough to control when more employees are needed to handle the increased work. CMOs hope to realize some efficiencies by increasing their marketing technology budget. Currently, that line item accounts for 26.2% of the marketing budget. In the next year, 43% of CMOs will slightly increase that allocation and 25% will significantly do so. The rest of the marketing budget breaks out as:

  • Agencies/​services 23.7%
  • Paid media 24.8%
  • Labor 24.5%
  • Other 0.9%

The Shift to Digital

As consumers turned to online research and shopping during the pandemic, marketers increased their presence in these channels. They expect this trend to continue in 2021. As a percentage of the total marketing budget, digital allocations break out as follows:

  • Digital advertising 13.5%
  • Social marketing 11.3%
  • Website 10.4%
  • SEO 9.9%
  • Mobile marketing 9.8%
  • Offline advertising 9.4%
  • Event marketing 9.0%
  • Partner/​channel marketing 9.0%
  • Email marketing 8.9%
  • Paid search 8.6%

Industry experts note that while marketers can typically easily adjust their media buys for digital formats, those changes aren’t easy to adjust in traditional formats. This year, “28% of respondents stated they had canceled a media buy.” To protect their budgets, your clients may insist on short term media buys until the impact of the pandemic fades. Be prepared to offer them your best deals and flexibility.

CMOs to Buy More Digital Media

Researchers detected some differences between the B2C and B2B channels in terms of spending plans for next year. In the B2C sector, 78% of companies will increase their digital and social marketing in 2021. 71% will also boost mobile and website marketing. And while 58% will increase offline advertising, 30% plan to decrease spending on that line item.

B2B marketers gave researchers more conservative estimates about their spending plans. A significant majority, 69%, increase spend more on digital advertising. And 67% will bump up their email and mobile marketing budgets. Offline ad spending will increase for 55% of B2B companies and only 25% will decrease spending in this format.

It’s not too early to discuss spending plans for 2021 with your clients. Despite the uncertainty related to COVID-​19 and the economy, marketers need to plan for the future. Remind them of the value you bring through your services and media format. As experts, you can accomplish some tasks more efficiently than they can. And with access to the Digital Audit from AdMall, you can show prospects their marketplace position as it compares to their competitors.