The most recent version of the study, which is conducted twice a year, was based on an online survey of 574 senior marketing executives fielded between July 27 and Aug. 18.
When asked how optimistic they were about the U.S. economy compared with the previous quarter, only 35.2% said they were more optimistic. That was down significantly from February's survey, when 62.1% said they were more optimistic, and from the year-earlier survey, when 59% indicated they were more optimistic.
However, when asked how optimistic they were about their own company's revenue prospects compared with the previous quarter, 63.9% of marketing executives said they were more optimistic. That was down slightly from February (68.9%) but up significantly from August of last year (47.2%).
WORRIES OVER THE ECONOMY
“[Executives] are "gloom and doom' about the overall economy, but they are much more optimistic about their own companies,” said Christine Moorman, senior director of business administration at the Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey. “They seem to be optimistic for a very good reason: Their companies are doing better.”
The CMO Survey found that on average, customer acquisition at the companies surveyed was up 2.6% compared with the previous year. Sales were up 2.2%, and profits, up 1.8%.
The survey also found that marketing budgets will increase an average of 9.2% over the next year, compared with a forecast of only 1.1% in the year-earlier study.
Spending on Internet marketing is expected to be up an average of 13.6% over the next year. Spending on brand building is projected to increase by 8.3%, and CRM spending, by 8.3%. Spending on new services is expected to rise 7.2%. All of those projections are higher than those made in the August 2009 study.
The survey also found that social media spending will grow from 9.9% of total marketing budgets to 17.7% in the next five years.
“Firms are increasingly aware of the importance of the key marketing assets they need to build, nurture, protect and leverage—the customer and the brand. They realize that if they don't take care of that relationship, they won't maximize profit,” the survey noted.