Marketers Optimism Highest in Two Years

  • Mar 15, 2011

The results of the February 2011 CMO Survey are in and the news is unequivocally positive. Top marketing executives at U.S. firms are more optimistic about the U.S. economy and their own companies, with company performance indicators such as revenue, profits and new jobs climbing across the board. These encouraging results come from the CMO Survey, a nationwide poll of chief marketing officers (CMOs) conducted twice annually by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association since 2008. The most recent CMO Survey queried 3,778 top marketing executives at Fortune 100, Forbes Top 200 and CMO Club companies from Jan. 11-28.

CMOs rated the U.S. economy at 63 on a scale of 0-100, up from a rating of 56 in August 2010. Nearly 69 percent of CMOs reported they were more optimistic about the U.S. economy, compared to 26 percent the previous quarter. In contrast, less optimistic CMOs fell to 6 percent, down from 35 percent the previous quarter.

“Because marketers have the most direct contact with customers and the best perspective of their future plans, these results are especially credible and bode well for economic recovery,” said Christine Moorman, Fuqua professor and director of the survey. “All measures of customer revenue are expected to see gains in the next 12 months.” CMOs expect higher customer purchase volume, higher prices, more new customers entering the market and better customer retention. Advertising will see gains in the next year, with spending on traditional ads expected to rise more than 2 percent, the first foray into positive territory since before February 2009.

Completing the rebound portrait, CMOs expect to hire 50 percent more marketing professionals over the next year, with the service consulting industry expected to post the largest gains with 82 percent growth.

U.S. CMOs expect most company revenues to come from domestic markets during the next year, while the international market with the highest expected sales increase is  China, up 4 percent over February 2010 estimates. Business-to-business companies expect the biggest increases in Chinese markets. 

Duke business school reports optimistic business outlook