Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2016-2017 Shows Marketing Budgets Continue to Climb

The survey reveals continued focus on growth and targeted spend on websites, digital commerce and digital advertising.

Marketing budgets continued their steady ascent in 2016, climbing to 12% of company revenue, according to the Gartner 2016-2017 CMO Spend Survey. The survey polled over 300 marketing leaders across the U.S. and U.K. to uncover how much their companies spend on marketing and what budgets reveal about marketing’s competing priorities to improve short-term performance and long-term customer experience.

“Survey findings show how marketing organizations, through their spending priorities, continue to lead the charge in a data-driven, digitally led world,” noted Gartner for Marketers research vice president Jake Sorofman.

The 2016-2017 survey confirms the third consecutive year of budget increases. Larger companies (>$5 billion revenue) spend 13% of revenue on marketing versus smaller companies ($250 million to $500 million revenue) that spend roughly 10% of annual revenue. Scale, innovation spend and competitive pressure reflect the difference.

Action: Measure your budget against benchmarks to be sure you’re not underfunding or overfunding your marketing operation relative to competitors or peers.

Signs of caution

While the majority of marketers expect increases in 2017, 14% are bracing for a cut. This is up from only 3% who expected cuts in the 2014-2015 survey and is the highest reported in the survey’s five-year history. Twenty-four percent of marketers at media companies say their budgets will decline in 2017 compared with last year.

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Source: Gartner