David Lee - Dec 25, 2018

Gartner Report 2019: CMOs are spending more on technology and less on people.

Every year, Gartner releases their CMO Spend Survey. Here is our take on the top four trends that CMOs of mid-sized companies should think about.

1) Budgets are stabilizing

Marketing Expense 2019

Source: Gartner

After peaking at 12.1% of company revenue in 2016, marketing budgets have leveled off at 11%. We believe that one of the key reasons is that executives no longer view marketing as a “cost center” or the “cost of doing business.” More and more CMOs view marketing as a profit center and they need to show how marketing adds to the bottom line in order to justify increased spending. In other words:

Marketing investments must produce results.


2) Almost 1/3 of marketing budget is allocated to marketing technology (martech)

CMO Budget

Source: Gartner

Compared to 2017, companies are now allocating an incredible 29% of the budget to marketing technology. This includes email marketing, web content management systems (CMS), and digital marketing platforms. But CMOs should carefully evaluate whether they want to use best of breed systems or consolidate on a single platform like Hubspot.

3) Traditional tactics still work.

Investment in the traditional workhorses of digital marketing accounts for 25% of the marketing budget:

  • Paid Search
  • SEO
  • Email Marketing
  • Website

These tried and true marketing tactics continue to produce results. CMOs should allocate sufficient resources and budget to ensure that these foundational activities continue to move the needle in terms of traffic, leads, and engagement.

For more detailed information on these methods, check out our articles on:

How SEO has changed

How to develop an email marketing strategy 

Five questions your website must answer 

4) Marketing is not aligned with business priorities

This year, Customer Experience (CX) is listed as one of the top three capabilities required for a successful marketing strategy. Indeed, with the majority of the workforce now comprised of millennials, customer experience is more important than ever.

However, CMOs are under increasing pressure to demonstrate to their CEO and CFO that the resources spent on marketing provide value, including revenue and profitability. Surprisingly, only 16% of CMOs listed customer acquisition as a top three capability.

In order to succeed, CMOs must adopt the financial language that executive management understands, including customer acquisition cost (CAC), lifetime value of a client (LTV) and marketing originated customer. If these terms are unfamiliar, check out our blog article on calculating marketing metrics that matter


CMOs of mid-sized corporations can learn a lot from understanding how their counterparts in Fortune 500 companies are adjusting their budgets and their strategies to the changing marketplace and technologies available. There are valuable opportunities for mid-sized company CMOs to get ahead of the curve and start to align their marketing efforts with the sales team in order to produce measurable results that move the revenue needle.

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Written by David Lee

As the founder of Do What Works, my goal is to take the best practices and lessons I learned from working with Fortune 500 companies and bring them to the mid-size market and help our clients grow their business.