Marketing budgets as a percentage of revenue have fallen to their lowest level in recent history. Meanwhile, marketing leaders continue to reprioritize channels, programs and resources. Use this research as your essential guide to the data and insights from Gartner’s 2021 CMO Spend Survey that will help you secure and allocate the resources necessary to achieve your strategic objectives.
• Marketing budgets as a proportion of company revenue have fallen from 11% in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021, their lowest point in the history of Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey.
• Pure-play digital channels account for 72.2% of the total marketing budget, with CMOs indicating that they’re shifting offline budgets into digital spend.
• 29% of work that was previously carried out by external agencies has been moved to in-house teams over the last 12 months. CMOs have focused in- housing efforts on high-value, strategic capabilities such as brand strategy, innovation and technology.
Gartner’s annual CMO Spend Survey captures a snapshot of marketing’s budget, spending and strategic priorities. This year’s survey finds CMOs at a difficult juncture — budgets and resources are constrained, but marketing needs to demonstrate how it can support the enterprise’s growth and transformation ambitions.
Marketing Budgets as a Proportion of Revenue Down From 11% in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021 Throughout 2020, as the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis jolted businesses across the globe, Gartner reported that the majority of CMOs faced an in-year budget cut,1 with some cuts well above 15% of the total marketing budget. Nonetheless, most CMOs anticipated a swift recovery and expected budgets to bounce back in 2021. Data from Gartner’s CMO Strategic Priorities Survey 2020-2021 reported that 56% of CMOs expected budget growth of more than 5% in 2021, with respondents positive even if COVID-19 had negatively impacted their business’s performance.
But such a swift return to prepandemic funding levels proved elusive for many marketing organizations. Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey takes a snapshot of the proportion of company revenue that’s allocated to marketing. This year’s snapshot revealed that the proportion of company revenue allocated to marketing had fallen from an average of 11.0% in 2020 to just 6.4% in 2021 — a cut of 4.6 percentage points. This is the lowest proportion allocated to marketing in the history of Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey.