Who We Surveyed

Industry Participation
33 Industries of Small, Medium & Enterprise Size Businesses
#1 Computer Software
Other industries include Advertising, IT, Financial Services, and more
Marketing Roles & Tenure
68% C-Suite to Director
32% Senior Manager to Manager
1-3 years average tenure across roles and seniority

The Modern Marketing Organization

In-house or outsource?

That’s a question a lot of marketing executives face when building out and scaling their teams.

Here’s how today’s marketing teams are approaching their in-house and outsourced talent…

5 Most Common In-House Marketing Functions
Content Marketing is the most common role recruited for on in-house marketing teams. And most leaders don’t see that changing.
More than 50% of those surveyed said it will continue to be the most coveted marketing skill over the next 5 years.
5 Most Commonly Outsourced Marketing Functions
45% of marketing teams still outsource their web development expertise. Given the pervasiveness of digital, our guess is that more teams will bring this key skillset in-house.
10-20% of marketing’s budget is spent on outsourcing talent and specialties.
Straight from the experts
What advice would you give other leaders in your position on managing marketing talent?

The complexity of today’s marketing landscape necessitates the need for top-tier talent. Hiring is one of the most important skills for marketing leaders, because without a fantastic team, you won't be able to stand out in the crowded market.”

VP of Marketing
Marketing/Advertising/Sales Agency

I think people are our most valuable asset – the technology, the media dollars, the messaging, etc. all need the right people to make them work. Prioritize attracting, hiring, training, and mentoring the best possible talent you can and as a leader, make this your #1 focus all the time. Through them, you will be successful.”

Chief Marketing Officer
Computer Software

Once you find talent, nurture them, build a relationship, value their contribution so they feel accountable for deliverables and impact.”

Growth Strategy Leader
Marketing/Advertising/Sales Agency

Give [employees] the freedom to make decisions and execute on what you hired them to do. If they are less experienced in their role, ask them to bring campaigns and strategies to you 80% complete and work through the last 20% with them.”

Executive VP of Marketing
Computer Software

With a small team, it's important to set goals that directly coincide with the overall company goals. All other marketing-specific goals can be prioritized from there.”

Director of Marketing
Computer Software

Recruit for team cohesion. The best performing teams are the sum of their parts.”

Chief Revenue Officer
winning as a marketing leader cover
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Current Challenges Facing Marketing

Talent. Forecasting. Lead generation. The challenges facing modern marketing departments should come as no surprise. However, the frontrunner – by a landslide – might.

5 Top Challenges Facing Marketing Teams
62% said talent bandwidth was their team’s greatest challenge
34% chose forecasting pipeline as their #2 greatest team challenge
5 Top Challenges Facing Individual Marketers
62% said scaling marketing efforts was their greatest personal challenge
50% chose generating pipeline as their #2 greatest personal challenge

Top Priorities for Marketing

How are marketers prioritizing themselves and their teams given these growing challenges?

Not in the way you might think.

When asked what priorities leaders were focusing on over the next 12 months, “team building and scaling” didn’t even rank in the top five, despite this being one of the biggest challenges leaders reported.

Top 10 Marketing Leadership Priorities
Top Priorities
#1 Generating Pipeline
55% of respondents
#2 Lead Generation
46% of respondents
#3 Brand Awareness
40% of respondents
Straight from the experts
What advice would you give other leaders in your position on facing these challenges?

The modern CMO must be strong at leveraging data to make data-driven decisions on strategy, messaging, and ROI and to show their direct impact and value on driving revenue growth. ‘Brand awareness’ is not enough.”

Chief Marketing Officer
Computer Software

Less is more. Simplify your systems and messaging to focus on your highest propensity buyers.”

Director of Marketing
Computer Software

Don't stretch yourself too thin. Focus on a small number of problems and get them solved first.”

Head of Marketing

Curiosity didn't kill the cat, it leveled it up. Be open to new ideas and concepts – experiment – even when you don’t fully understand the concept.”

Digital Marketing Manager
Computer Hardware

Skepticism in marketing is a good problem to have. There’s only one way to put those doubts to rest – smash that ‘send’ or ‘go live’ button now!”

Head of Marketing
Computer Software

Get more deliberate in using the right combination of martech tools and creative marketers to gain clear direction on metrics, and determine which strategies and channels are truly driving sales/marketing alignment.”

Marketing/Sales/Advertising Agency

MarTech: The Technologies Enabling Today’s Marketers

We asked respondents to choose which martech they considered critical to generating pipeline. Unsurprisingly, automation played a huge role in meeting goals across the board for both small and mid-sized companies.

Most Popular MarTech Overall, Ranked
Mission-Critical MarTech For Pipeline Generation
#1 Marketing Automation
56% of respondents
#2 CRM
52% of respondents
#3 Demand Generation
35% of respondents

MarTech Spend & Confidence

Allocating and planning your marketing budget is vital for getting the resources, tools and headcount you need to achieve your goals. With a growing tech stack, many marketing teams are adding additional budgets around new technologies.

  • 10-20% of budget allocated on martech this year
  • 10-30% of budget planned for martech next year

You’d think that given this rise in spending that confidence in martech would be high. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Confidence Level that MarTech Can Support Business Goals (3.7 average rating)
confidence level
Factors Driving MarTech Confidence
Early involvement in tech stack creation
Diligence in vendor adoption
Martech reflects internal processes & team workflow
Good data quality
Factors Driving MarTech Skepticism
Poor integration capabilities
Unsophisticated analysis & reporting
Too many owners
No main owner
Poor data quality
Straight from the experts
Can you elaborate on why your current technology stack is or isn't successful for your current business needs?
Marketers happy with their martech said…

Most marketers inherit something they don't know how to use or fully scale. I built my stack from the ground up, so it's working for us at the moment.”

Director of Marketing
Marketing/Sales/Advertising Agency

We are very diligent in not buying toys, but leave capital for experiments throughout the year. The result is that we don’t have more than exactly what we need to create, execute, measure, optimize and integrate with both sales/CS and on the platform.”

Chief Revenue Officer
Market Research

The challenge is not the tech stack. It’s the orchestration.”

Marketing/Advertising/Sales Agency

I believe we may add a few new tools in the future driven by customer engagement preferences, but that will be short term. The bigger hurdle for now is streamlining and optimizing usage of the tools we already have.”

Chief Marketing Officer
Computer Software
Marketers unhappy with their martech said…

I don’t believe we are using our stack to its full capability – from segmentation to tracking to productivity. This drains resources and pushes our goals further out.”

Growth Strategy Leader
Marketing/Sales/Advertising Agency

It’s very hard to find tools that are the best in their category, but also work well with other tools natively. It’s especially hard if you don’t use Salesforce.”

Head of Sales & Marketing

Migrating is costly and a distraction. Without comprehensive integrations, maximizing the use of data is challenging.”

Chief Marketing Officer
Computer Software

Ideally, we need a dedicated systems admin/CIO to maintain and fine tune our marketing systems – and to ensure they are fully aligned with our business needs and wider company systems. This is now probably a full-time role.”

Global Marketing Director

It’s not so much of a problem with the stack, but a lack of commitment from sales to maintain data quality in the CRM.”

Director of B2B Marketing
Marketing/Sales/Advertising Agency

The Future of Marketing

Does the current state of marketing impact how leaders view the future of talent and technology?

Put simply, yes.

When asked what skills they saw as critical in the next five years to marketing’s success, respondents offered a mix of both hard and soft skills.

This isn’t too far off from the marketing teams we see today.

Top 5 Most Important Skills to the
Future of Marketing
important-skills 3
Many departments are transitioning to cross-functional units where creatives and analysts sit side-by-side. What we’re more likely to see in the coming years is marketers being asked to learn both the hard and soft skills needed to execute their jobs more effectively.
Top 5 Technologies That Will Have the Biggest Impact on Future of Marketing
We also asked leaders which emerging technologies will continue to shape the marketing landscape. The results showed a fairly even split between artificial intelligence, machine learning, ad tech and digital assistance like voice and chat.

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