CMOs Value Visual Content, While Industry Remains Unprepared [Study]

A new study from the CMO Council shows that while visual content is more important than ever to both marketers and consumers, most organizations are still behind in creating efficient channels for accessing and sharing that content. 

The study, which surveyed 177 North American marketers and CMOs in both the B2B and B2C sectors, found that 23 percent of respondents were devoting 10-25 percent of budgets to visual content creation and 39 percent felt that their organization should allocate even more of their budgets to visual. cmo-visual-content-image-one

And while half the respondents saw photography, video, infographics and illustrations as “important,” one of the most suprising findings of the study, according to Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council, was the rapid rise of video as a critical marketing tool. Some 79 percent of respondents saw importance shifting to video in the near future. cmo-visual-content-video-image-two

“Video is going to absolutely skyrocket over this next year,” Miller says.”It’s kind of been an area where we’ve been dabbling and playing. It’s certainly been an area where we are actively allocating or re-allocating dollars that used to be dedicated to television creative, but we’re now looking at online video as a major piece of that customer engagement practice.”

However, Miller worries that while marketers understand the importance of visual elements like video, most organizations are ill prepared to make the shift. “The fact that there is going to be so much more investment in video and visuals really makes me worry,” she says. “Marketers are saying that so few have systems in place to truly manage not only the organization but the organizational access to this type of material.”

In fact, 35 percent of marketers say that they currently have no system in place to aggregate, catalogue and manage visual assets across their organizations. Another 42 percent say that such systems are “not a priortiy” to decision makers within their businesses. visual-content-strategy-cmo-council-study-image-three

Miller says that unless leaders outside the marketing team realize the importance of managing and organizing visual resources, companies will essentially waste money on resources that will never be used correctly. 

“It’s not so much about marketers not understanding or not having the desire to have visual assets at the ready,” Miller says. “In fact, we’re spending billions of dollars on creating those assets. The challenge that marketers are going to face now is creating those systems that enable us to really maximize the investment.” 

One thing is certain as consumers share content across social and increasingly communicate with brands by way of gifs and emojis: visual content is only going to get more popular, and marketers must be ready. 

“It’s a different game right now,” Millers says. “It’s a game where we have to be cognizant of budget and the operational responsibility we have to the organization, but we also have to understand that visual content is what our customers want.”

View the full study here

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