LinkedIn commissioned YouGov to survey 2,929 C-level executives, including 494 Chief Marketing Officers, across the globe to understand the challenges and priorities they face due to the prevailing economic uncertainty.
CMOs around the world are under pressure to produce short-term ROI from their marketing campaigns, with those in the MENA region experiencing higher pressure than the global average. The top challenges they face during this period include burnout amongst employees, lack of creative freedom, and adapting reactive marketing strategies.
The priorities and perspectives of MENA CMOs differ from global standards, with a higher emphasis on understanding customer intent and ROI. The research also highlights the importance of soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving, in navigating the current economic climate.
Another area the research sheds light on is how marketing leaders around the world are managing their teams during the economic downturn, including cutback on flexibility and changes in leadership approaches.
Diana Daou, Head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn MENA, explains, "As CMOs face increasing pressure to produce short-term ROI in the current economic climate, our latest research signals higher levels of stress and feelings of imposter syndrome among marketing leaders globally, including in the MENA region. A staggering 88% of MENA CMOs feel pressured to prove a greater short-term return on investment from their marketing campaigns, which can compromise creativity and result in burnout within their teams. It's essential therefore to balance short-term results and long-term brand-building efforts in order to optimize the potential of marketing teams. On the brighter side, it is encouraging to see that most marketing executives in the MENA region recognize the value of both performance and brand marketing and are wisely investing in strategies that will help them adapt to the changing business landscape while staying on top of the game."
CMOs feel the pressure to produce short-term ROI from their marketing campaigns
- CMOs around the world say that the current economic climate has led them to have higher levels of stress (36%), imposter syndrome (34%), and difficulty in enjoying their personal time due to work distractions (32%).
- 88% of CMOs in MENA feel under pressure to prove greater short-term return on investment from their marketing campaigns against a global average of 77%.
- CMOs in the region say that ttheir top three marketing challenges during times of economic uncertainty are:
- Fear of burnout and exhaustion (emotional and physical) amongst employees from adapting to constant change (31%)
- Fear of operating on a reactive marketing strategy and winding back on the progress of the last year (31%)
- Fear of lack of creative freedom in ideating memorable campaigns due to over-emphasis on ROI (25%)
Priorities and perspectives of MENA CMOs slightly differ from global metrics
- CMOs around the globe consider the below as their top 3 metrics to prove marketing effectiveness in order to increase budgets:
- Brand awareness (17%)
- Buyer intent/understanding relating to 'when' and 'why' a customer is interested in a product or service (17%)
- New customer acquisition (15%)
- Middle Eastern CMOs' priorities come up as:
- Buyer intent/understanding relating to 'when' and 'why' a customer is interested in a product or service (25%)
- ROI (19%)
- Brand awareness (12%)
Balancing flexibility and stability: How CMOs are managing their teams during economic uncertainty
- Globally, all CMOs identify the below as the top 3 soft skills leaders need to navigate the current economic climate:
- Communication (32%)
- Problem-solving (31%)
- Creative thinking (27%)
- 76% of CMOs across the globe are concerned that they’ll have to cut back on Learning & Development initiatives in order to save costs due to economic uncertainty, with 30% having already reduced investment in L&D opportunities. 74% of them also believe that this economic downturn will cause skill gaps to widen.
- To tackle the economic uncertainty, CMOs are cutting back on flexibility and remote work and are asking their team to:
- Reduce flexible working and hybrid working roles (35%)
- Reduce flexible working and hybrid working options (34%)
- Ask employees who are working from home to return to the office (31%)
- Given the current economic climate, more than half (56%) of the CMOs prefer that their team members work from the office, compared to the 43% who say they prefer otherwise, with only 1% taking neutral ground.
- 85% of CMOs agree that the HR function has been more critical now than it’s ever been, with 77% in agreement it has been challenging to attract top talent due to the current economic situation, and 58% agreeing that they are experiencing difficulties in taking a long-term approach to workforce planning.
- 60% of CMOs are adopting a democratic style of leadership and motivating their team to be part of the decision-making process, with 41% increasing the frequency of gathering feedback and sentiment.