CMO Survey: Marketer Optimism for U.S. Economy Slumps
Chief marketing officers (CMOs) are less optimistic about the U.S. economy than they were six months ago, a new survey reveals.
When asked if they were more or less optimistic about the overall U.S. economy compared to last quarter, just 29 percent of respondents expressed optimism, down 34.3 percentage points from the previous survey in February 2012. The percentage of respondents who answered they were less optimistic shot up from 8.5 percent in February to 35.8 percent in the most recent survey.
The group rating the future of the economy as "no change" increased from 28.3 percent in February to 35.2 percent.
A total of 528 CMOs responded to The CMO Survey, with 86 percent of those representing a level of vice president or above. The survey was conducted between July 17 and Aug. 3, 2012.
"The greatest pessimism lies among business-to-business companies. These companies have not seen their markets rebound," said Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey and professor of business administration at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. "Furthermore, for the first time in the history of The CMO Survey, pessimists, optimists and the 'no change' group are nearly equal, indicating a great deal of uncertainty and no strong consensus about the direction of the economy."
Even more telling, Moorman says, is the fact that CMOs expect key customer metrics to decrease in the next 12 months, including purchase volume, purchase of related products and services, retention and new customers entering the market. Customers are expected to be more focused on price, thereby exerting pressure on companies to drive down the prices of products and services. To make matters worse, CMOs expect competition to increase, including more competitors and more intense rivalry.
Despite the overall anxiety about the future of the U.S. economy, CMOs remain optimistic about their own companies. On an optimism scale of 0-100, CMOs gave their own company a 69.6 score compared to 58.4 for the overall economy, which is partly due to CMOs having private information about their own companies' strengths and strategies, Moorman said. The CMOs report that their companies will take on more risk in the next year as they target new markets and offer new products and services.