An annual survey, Digital Connections 3.0, conducted among 315 B2B Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), reveals that 70% use less than half of their marketing technology (martech) stack.

This underutilisation is primarily attributed to a lack of team expertise, particularly in strategic skills.

The survey highlights a significant rise in the strategic skills gap within marketing technology. Marketing technology strategy has surged to the top position as the most critical skills gap, escalating from 20% in 2022 to 30% in 2024. CMOs point to the multifaceted demands of the martech strategy role, which requires a comprehensive understanding of technology platforms, business and customer needs, and the ability to manage their interdependencies. This complex skill set makes the role difficult to fill, creating a void in their marketing capabilities.

Focus on Artificial Intelligence

The 2024 study by Modern also underscores the necessity for improved strategic skills, especially as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more integral to marketing strategies. The research indicates that AI investment is a top priority for 72% of CMOs, with 28% placing AI at the core of their marketing initiatives and an additional 44% integrating it into select strategic areas.

As AI adoption increases, so do concerns regarding its use. Among the surveyed CMOs, 36% cited challenges with the reliability and accuracy of AI outputs, while 35% highlighted the costs associated with AI/ML maintenance as notable issues.

ROI and Future Outlook

The survey also reveals that investment in new marketing technology and the lack of strategic skills are delaying ROI achievements. Only 19% of CMOs reported seeing a return on their martech investments. However, there is optimism, as only 2% of CMOs believe they are more than three years away from achieving ROI, and 45% believe they are 9-18 months away.

Nicola Ray, CEO of Modern, emphasises the importance of addressing the strategic skills gap. “By nurturing strategic skills and aligning martech strategies with customer journeys, CMOs can increase marketing’s ability to fully leverage their marketing investments.”

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