The combination of a looming recession and the cost of living crisis means the current financial situation is anything but positive. This gloomy financial outlook for consumers makes it increasingly critical for marketers to offer greater value, as well as demonstrating responsibility and sensitivity.

However, according to new research, a third of CMOs (33%) are more focused on the impact of the rising number of channels and platforms than they are on increasingly complicated consumer behaviour (17%).

Findings from Adverity suggest that related growth in data volumes may be a significant cause behind this imbalance of priorities.

Titled ‘Recession, Resilience, & Marketing Data: What’s shaping the CMO’s roadmap?’, the report surveyed 300 CMOs across the US, UK, and DACH region from small to midsize businesses. It uncovers key challenges for CMOs in the current climate of accelerated change, digitalisation, and uncertainty, and results indicate data handling issues are hindering efficiency.

While 85% of CMOs agree the capacity to make data-driven decisions is a critical competitive advantage, many are struggling to ensure effective data management. This is perhaps explained by the fact that almost seven in ten (67%) feel the volume of marketing data available has become overwhelming, with 99% using 10 or more data sources and 52% using 14 or more.

It’s difficult to remain hopeful when these findings suggest many businesses are at risk of missteps as the global economy declines, with unwieldy data preventing smart pivots, and distracting CMOs from the need to align experiences with shifting consumer needs.

What about budgets?

Although 29% of CMOs are planning to enhance internal capabilities by increasing their data operations budget through 2022, this push towards increased spending doesn’t translate across the board. Nearly as many (27%) say their budget has decreased and the majority (44%) are working with the same spending pot as last year, with those identifying as ‘least resilient’ to ‘black swan’ events in recent years that have been the likely cause of tightening belts.

It’s also interesting to learn that the most common blocker to investment into data tech is lack of knowledge within the business (27%). This is closely followed by the perception that adopting new tech will be too complicated (23%), while only 8% indicate the main barrier to investing in tech is securing budget.

According to Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO of Adverity, CMOs have become overly bogged down by data challenges and lost sight of their core purpose: meeting the needs of the consumer.

She commented: “How they got here isn’t hard to understand. As channels and platforms have expanded, so has the quantity of incoming data about audience interactions and marketing performance. Failing to implement efficient systems for managing this data, however, means they are now wary of smart tools and battling to bring disordered information into order, when they should be using it to inform efforts that create consistently strong consumer connections.

We don’t know how long this financial instability and uncertainty will last, so it is for the best that CMOs are rapid in their movement to fix any problems surrounding data. Only with a unified supply of accurate insights can they pinpoint the best path to driving relevant, meaningful, and empathetic conversations, which fuel long-term bonds and trust.