Ronn TorossianRonn Torossian

What’s more difficult? Predicting the weather or your budget for next year? If you’re still preparing your 2020 marketing budget, it might please you to know that a recent survey of CMOs revealed that almost 61 percent felt there would see an increase in their budgets in spite of myriad challenges including tariffs, Brexit, a major political season and talk of a recession. This optimism is even more surprising considering 2018 marked the first time in five years that the ratio of marketing budget to company revenue fell below 11 percent. It was 10.5 percent overall.

Why the optimism?

One of the reasons for this optimism is that political spending historically spikes during an election year. Observers feel this momentum will extend over other markets in spite of that same confidence last year. Against this optimistic outlook, we need to also remember that 41 percent of those surveyed predicted flat or even smaller marketing budgets next year. What could be alarming is that the firm surveying CMOs also talked with CEOs and found that most had no plans for a recession.

The challenge

Regardless of whether or not your budget is flat, smaller or larger next year, CMOs cited steady declines in the amount of available funds to keep up to date with marketing technology as a serious concern. A survey found that high tech budgets have slipped three percent annually for the past several years. No matter what size your budget will be in 2020, nearly every CMO will be afflicted with short-termism.

What’s Short-Termism?

That’s the term that makes most CMOs shudder. It means having to accomplish a lot over a short period of time. Haven’t we heard that before? But having less funds and probably outdated technology makes the challenge even more challenging and difficult. 64 percent of respondents said they expect to be facing short termism next year.


Regardless of the state of your data technology, it will be critical to utilize and employ your available data and technology along with the personnel you have to personalize your customer communications. Your staff will need to keep up with a transforming industry as best as it can until you have the funds to upgrade your systems. 84 percent of CMOs survey said data management and analytics were very important. However, less than half of them felt confident of being able to maintain any momentum. This is the challenge of the CMO in keeping staff motivated and informed.

As a CMO, make a pledge to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Helping your staff through what may be a difficult 2020 by empowering and coaching them will not only arm them with the confidence that they need to confront any future challenges they may face in the future, but also heighten their faith and loyalty in you.

Compared to other senior level positions, CMOs remain with their employer for an average of 3.5 years. If you can inspire and lead your team successfully through 2020, chances are you’ll be in a much better position to receive a more justifiable marketing budget in 2021.


Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR Agency.