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Marketing Technology - Is it the Holy Grail for Brands?

NewsCreds' Insight report published in June of this year gives a glimpse of how marketers will reinvest their budgets in the COVID-19 era as marketing budgets shift to digital-first programs and how teams will continue to collaborate remotely.  

As stay-at-home policies are extended, and as pressure to execute campaigns quickly increases, marketing technologies (martech) may well continue its projected growth trajectory and exceed pre-COVID-19 spend levels according to NewsCred.  

In Gartner's CMO survey released in July, the research firm projects spend levels on martech to stay at 26 percent of marketing budgets in 2020. Of the 432 CMOs surveyed, 68 percent foresee an increase in martech investment in the next 12 months.

Even as spend levels remain at pre-COVID-19 levels, most markets still struggle with utilizing the full capabilities of their martech platforms as marketers in the Gartner study report using only 58 percent of their martech stack's full capabilities; this will be an instrumental force in whether martech spend levels remain or diminish in the coming months.

The announcement by Google's CEO that it would extend its remote work policy well into 2021 sent a clear message to CEOs around the world that how companies manage their workforce is a long-sprint into the unknown.

Other tech giants have followed suit with Mark Zuckerberg expecting half of Facebook's workforce to be remote within the decade and Twitter telling its employees they can stay home permanently.

As the world awaits a vaccine, companies are bracing for extended remote work of its employees that could drive martech spends above current projections as marketing teams must rely on technology to collaborate on campaigns and manage work.  

In the U.S., according to a recent survey by economists at Harvard Business School, one in six workers is forecasted to continue to work from home or co-working at least two days a week. This change in the work environment plays a significant role in how platforms can keep teams on track and working together. Managers will need to foresee these changes and ensure they have the tools in place. A survey of hiring managers by Upwork felt that one-fifth of the workforce might end up being entirely remote after the pandemic. 

In the NewsCred study, the acceleration of campaign execution is a top priority of 70 percent of the marketers surveyed. As C-suites tackle financial and market uncertainties in the months to come, how marketing budgets end up is still to be seen.  

Tied to faster execution of campaigns will be sales. If marketing teams prove their worth, then budget allocations to marketing could remain stable or even grow. 

Even as the CMOs surveyed in Gartner's survey remain optimistic, there is a feeling that they are out of sync with the rest of the C-suite. 

"Marketers remain stoic in the face of adversity and are significantly out of step with other members of the C-suite," said Ewan McIntyre, vice president analyst for Gartner for Marketers. "We are seeing a significant number of CEOs and CFOs building scenario plans that include a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we progress into the 'recover' and 'renew' phases of this pandemic, CFOs will turn their attention to profitability, and marketing has the dubious honor of topping the list of functions where finance will look to trim expenses even further."

Could Going Digital-First Save Marketing?

It is difficult to predict how the remaining quarters of 2020 will end up. As countries brace for a potential second-wave of lockdowns due to increased COVID-19 cases following the summer months, companies will likely initiate budget cuts. In Gartner's study, more than 44 percent of the CMOs surveyed had mid-year budget reductions due to COVID-19, and of those, 10.7 percent expect additional cuts of more than 15 percent.

The larger question is whether a digital-first approach can build and sustain companies in the coming months and 2021.

Next in the Digital-First World series, we'll explore the world of logos and brand identity and the changes to come.


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