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CMOs Optimistic, But Still Tight-Fisted

CMOs are feeling better about the economy, but they're not about to spend more on traditional advertising.

Such marketers expect an increase in customer activity over the next year, and to shift more dollars toward Internet marketing, per a study released this week by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in conjunction with the American Marketing Association. Don't expect a surge in offline ad revenue to follow suit—such adverting is expected to fall 8 percent.

The study, which surveyed 511 top marketing executives of U.S. companies during the last two weeks of July, found that 59 percent of marketers are more upbeat about the economy than they were one quarter ago. Forty seven percent said they're more optimistic about generating revenue from customers, and 39 percent are more hopeful about revenue from channel partners.

Additionally, CMOs are anticipating accelerated customer activity over the next year, with 48 percent citing an increase in purchase volume, 44 percent expecting customers to buy more products and services, and 35 percent predicting an increase in new customers.

In terms of their areas of focus over the next five years, marketers expect to boost spending on social media efforts by more than 300 percent. Marketing budget allocations for social media—including social networking, video and photosharing, and blogging—are forecasted to increase from 3.5 percent to 13.7 percent, per the study. Respondents said social media plays a key role in brand building, customer acquisition, product introductions, customer retention and market research. Meanwhile, spending on traditional advertising is expected to decrease 8 percent.

When asked to identify companies that have "exceptional marketing capabilities" across all business sectors, CMOs most frequently cited Apple and Procter & Gamble.

Overall, the study's outlook is positive, particularly when it comes to turnover in CMO positions this year. Top marketers reported holding their positions for an average of 4.3 years, which is unchanged from February.

—Nielsen Business Media