Marketers' Confidence Is At an All-Time High in 2017, But They See Room for Improvement

American Marketing Association
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Key Takeaways

​What? The results of the 2017 survey show marketers' confidence is at an all-time high.

So what? Despite the uplift, marketers note shortcomings in organization investment and articulation of ROI.

Now what? Marketers would like to see their senior leaders be more data-literate to better understand customers.

​Feb. 23, 2017

CMOs see opportunities to better quantify ROI, drive customer-centric culture, understand rapid tech changes and invest in insight analytic

The 2017 Marketers’ Confidence Index rose by 6 points in the past year to 69 out of 100 possible points. However, 30% of marketers say they are concerned that their organization is not investing in the right customers. That figure is down 13% from 2016.

The findings from the Marketers’ Confidence Index, a biannual survey released by the AMA, in partnership with Kantar Vermeer, measures the degree of optimism on the state of the economy that U.S. marketers are expressing through their organizational spending and growth. 

The survey also revealed 32% of marketers had lost confidence in their team’s ability to understand the ROI of marketing plans. That number is 11% lower than one year ago when the confidence was at 43%, representing a sharp decline.

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Also declining was marketers’ confidence in whether their organization is investing in the right operating model. Only 25% of respondents felt their team had the right tools and processes in place, which is down 8% from 2016.  


“While the Marketers’ Confidence Index revealed optimism in several key areas, there are some critical concerns leadership teams need to address and cannot afford to ignore,” says Marc de Swaan Arons, chief marketing officer and executive board member of Kantar Vermeer. “With technology changing the way customers engage, we all must harness the power of data and analytics as part of an integrated marketing strategy for growth, profitability and differentiation.”

The index also shed light on areas where CMOs need to better prepare for the future, including knowing more about new digital technologies, insights and analytics and how larger organizations can communicate as effectively as smaller ones.

The areas marketers are most excited about include new digital tools to support social media, personalization, marketing automation and augmented reality. Marketers are also hoping to more effectively demonstrate the added value of their marketing initiatives, especially around analytics, Big Data and innovation. 


“This study shows a major shift in how organizations are investing and spending their time,” says Russ Klein, CEO of the AMA. “While marketers hold a positive outlook on their industry and organization, and anticipate higher budget, they need senior leadership to know more about metrics and analytics for ROI and creating a customer-centric organization.”

Other key insights from the latest survey include:

  • Of marketers under age 35, 86% are optimistic about the power and influence of marketing in an organization over the next few years while 56% of marketers age 56 and older feel confident.

  • Of younger marketers (35 and under), 78% are confident that organizations should be making investments right now; only 59% of marketers age 36-45 felt now was a good time. However, this growing optimism from younger marketers has not yet resulted in growing budgets.

  • Marketing budgets are ripe for growth. More marketers are expecting increased budgets in the next six months: 36% of marketers expect an increase, up 8% from Q2 2016. This is a stark contrast from January 2016, when 22% of respondents felt their marketing budgets would decrease.

  • Marketing budget allocation has remained stable, but when it comes to budget cuts, 24% of respondents said they would reduce their media placement budget, but only 4% would cut their analytics budget.

About the Survey

The survey’s margin of error is plus/minus 4.7% at the 90% confidence level. The Marketers’ Confidence Index presents the findings of an online survey conducted by Kantar Vermeer in December 2016, among a sample of 304 marketers across the U.S.


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