January 2nd, 2018 | by

What pain points keep CMOs up at night?

And what are the existing and emerging technologies that marketing teams will be spending more on in 2018?

Whether you sell into the Marketing Department or you are marketer, check out our predictions for marketing spend in 2018, based on trends from year-over-year survey results.

This wealth of data comes from DiscoverOrg’s own primary research based on surveys conducted with mid- to high-level professionals in the Marketing Department. These surveys were conducted over the last two years and offer year-over-year comparisons of results.

The first round of questions posed in our marketing survey relate to pain points, allows us to gauge where spending will take place in upcoming months. A second set of questions addresses to current spending; specifically emerging new spend at the time the survey was posed.

Marketing pain points: Bad data, consistent customer experience, and tracking campaign results

We asked: “Please indicate your Marketing department’s major initiatives in the next 6-12 months.”

These forward-looking survey questions related to current pain points allow us to make predictions about which areas organizations are likely to increase spending in in the coming months.

In addition to asking which areas an organization may be experiencing pain, DiscoverOrg also asks whether the organization is likely to spend to address this issue.

Three areas caused the most distress in Q3 2017:

  1. Dated or inaccurate data impedes effectiveness of marketing operations
  2. Difficulty creating a consistent, multi-channel customer experience
  3. Difficulty tracking digital marketing/advertising efforts

Pain point #1: Old and/or inaccurate data

Old and/or inaccurate data topped the list of pain points In Q3 2017, with over half (56%) of all organizations experienced pain related to impeding the effectiveness of marketing operations.


The pain of bad data is widespread and acute, as 30+% of data decays every year (not including user error). Not surprisingly, 36% of marketers surveyed indicated that they are likely to spend to address the issue of bad data. We expect to see this spend occur in 2018.

[CASE STUDY] Data-Agnostic? See How Data Quality Affects ROI in the A/B Test

Pain point #2: Difficulty creating a consistent, multi-channel customer experience

Difficulty creating a consistent, multi-channel customer experience was a pain point for 48% of organizations are experiencing pain related to in Q3, 2017. Of those, 35% say they are likely to spend to address this issue. We expect to see this investment occur in 2018 as well.

Pain point #3: Difficulty tracking digital marketing/advertising efforts

Difficulty tracking digital marketing/advertising efforts was a major pain point – and has consistently remained so – for the past two years. In Q3 2016, 42% of respondents identified this difficulty, while in Q3 2017, 45% said it was a pain point.

Other areas of pain included in our surveys include website complexity, content management, effectiveness of email marketing efforts, and managing digital assets.


New MarTech Spend

“What martech categories will you be spending new dollars [this quarter]?”

When we look at the trends year over year, we get a good indication of where organizations may add new spend in the following year.

Three areas continued to see a high average of new spend in both 2016 and 2017:

  1. Digital advertising solutions
  2. Customer experience solutions
  3. Marketing CRM solutions

Anticipated spend #1: Digital advertising

Digital advertising topped the list in both 2016 and 2017, with an average of 25% of organizations making new investments. This area was also the highest category of spend in every quarter.

Anticipated spend #2: Customer experience solutions

Customer experience solutions fluctuated quarter by quarter, but on average it was the one of the highest areas of spend, with 20% of organizations investing in 2016 and 21% in 2017.

Anticipated spend #3: CRM solutions

As for CRM solutions, the trend was similar to customer experience; however, the average spend went down slightly from an average of 21% in 2016 to 20% in 2017. Despite this slight drop, CRM solutions is still one of the three highest areas of investment year over year.

These three areas have remained at the top and DiscoverOrg research has no reason to think that these areas will disappear as top investment areas for marketing departments any time soon.

Other questions in the survey related to spend on content management, email automation solutions, lead generation, and mobile marketing solutions.

In 2018, I expect to see similar investment in all three areas.

We also anticipate spend in data solutions, in order to address the difficulty related to dated and inaccurate data, and spend related to creating a consistent, multi-channel customer experience.

The biggest spending trends all revolve around data, customer experience, and digital advertising capabilities. This comes as no surprise, as organizations move towards a more holistic approach to marketing, where all of these factors interact with one another.

IT focused? See What CIOs are Focused on in 2018: Predicting Top IT Initiatives and Spend.

In order to be successful, Marketing departments will have to invest in these valuable areas in 2018.

This is a great opportunity if your target prospects are in the Marketing department!

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Dorie Phillips
About the author

Dorie Phillips

As a Research Manager Dorie Phillips focuses on maintaining and improving the processes used for gathering and analyzing data related to spending trends in the IT market. Dorie has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the Catholic University of America. She is originally from Alberta, Canada.