65 Percent Of Marketers Plan To Increase Marketing Spend Through 2021

Marketers are ready to tackle the new year, as evidenced by a new CMO Council report in which 65 percent of marketers say they plan to increase marketing spend through 2021. Just 10 percent will reduce their budgets, while 24 percent expect no change.

Spend will focus on key areas that help marketers embrace automation and a digital-first environment as consumers increasingly favor digital interactions. According to a recent CMO Council consumer poll, in 2019 only 10 percent of consumers said they preferred interacting with brands in a digital-only environment; in 2020, 21 percent said they no longer had a need for in-person interactions.

Marketing leaders will seek to improve their customer journey, acquisition and conversion (50 percent), digital growth strategy planning (36 percent), campaign, execution and measurement (35 percent), demand generation and pipeline (32 percent) and actioning on customer data insight (26 percent).

Sixty-nine percent of respondents will ramp up investments in marketing technology (MarTech) to fill in gaps along the customer journey. Marketers’ top three MarTech priorities are: sourcing and using analytics, insights and intelligence (53 percent), executing campaigns more effectively (36 percent) and improving operations and performance (35 percent).

Half of respondents’ top organizational priority is working more effectively with lines of business. Additionally, across company sizes, regions and industries, marketers aim to save costs through efficiencies (40 percent). Doing a better job of both globalizing and localizing marketing campaigns (36 percent) will also

Just 25 percent plan to downsize or restructure their marketing organizations in 2021, while 64 percent will not.

The report notes that while smart tech investments will help marketers reduce inefficiencies, striking a balance between digital advancements and authenticity will be key. Through artificial intelligence and chatbots, marketers should create digital experiences that let customers self-serve, but still give them the option to escalate to a live person. 

These findings are based on an audit of nearly 200 CMO Council global members.

Listen In: What Does Leadership Mean To You?

Editor’s note: Yesterday, we published this episode with the headline, “What Does Leadership Look Like Now?” We realized that in light of it being Black History Month, that the headline and focus of the episode was tone-deaf. For that, we apologize. We want to acknowledge this oversight with our readers and the unconscious bias that led to our posting it. We are taking steps to not only rectify this but to earnestly understand, across our organization, this misstep. We sincerely thank those who have pointed out our shortcomings and will always welcome and value this insight from our readers.

New year, new attitude. That’s what we’re discussing today on episode 27 of Listen In, hosted by Ayzenberg principal and ECD Matt Bretz

This week we’re featuring a conversation with not one, not two, but three Ayzenberg VPs who have a lot to say about the perennial topic of leadership growth. We explore how the nature of business is changing for ad agencies including right here at Ayzenberg, how our own personal growth impacts the cultural growth of the wider agency—and importantly, what our guests would like to be known for.

Connect with our guests:

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg will interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the a.network audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

What We’re Reading—Week Of January 25th

The Rising Value Of Industrial Brands

McKinsey & Company

Of the more than 5,300 industrial brands that McKinsey studied, the top five percent capture 95 percent share of voice, enabling them to charge price premiums of five to 10 percent, thereby generating a higher return on invested capital (ROIC).

Why it matters: The top quartile of companies that improved visibility the most grew five-year ROIC by about three percentage points more than the bottom quartile, namely those whose visibility decreased the most.

Finding Direction When You’re Feeling Lost

Harvard Business Review

According to executive coach and psychoanalyst Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, when people transition from “time to live” to “time left to live,” a new sense of urgency emerges about identifying their purpose of existence.

Why it matters: The five pillars that define how we experience the meaning of our existence include: investing in affectionate interpersonal relationships, finding a clear sense of purpose, being utterly immersed in our unique talents, feeling like we have control over our choices and connecting ourselves purposefully to our community and society.

Skipping The Super Bowl, Budweiser Is Donating Its Ad Dollars To Covid-19 Vaccine Awareness Efforts


Budweiser is donating its Super Bowl ad dollars to the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative to raise awareness of the COVID-19 vaccines. In lieu of a game-day ad, it released a 90-second video set to the song “Lean On Me” featuring moments characteristic of lockdown life, including a dog appearing on Zoom, NBA players kneeling while wearing ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirts, masked grocery shoppers and people getting vaccinated.

Why it matters: Anheuser-Busch US chief marketing officer Marcel Marcondes says several of the company’s other brands will still air ads during the game, but they “won’t have quite the same tone as usual.”

Why Did Companies Take So Long To Divest From White Supremacy?

Harvard Business Review

Brands are speaking out or withdrawing funding to politicians and organizations that played a role in fueling the US Capitol raid because appearing to support a president who challenged the election could cut into earnings.

Why it matters: Many US companies proved they’re willing to profit off of racial inequality until the political costs of doing so were judged to be too high. To make good on their efforts to reduce racial inequality, businesses can rid their company of practices that help produce the very racial inequality they claim to disapprove of.

Consumers Trust UGC More Than Content Created By Brands


According to TINT’s ‘State of User-Generated Content 2021’ report, brand messages were reshared up to 24 times more when distributed by employees versus the brand.

Why it matters: To ramp up their UGC, 75 percent of marketers say they’re currently working with influencers who have less than 1,000 followers to create engaging content.

Premium Brands And Business Marketing With AMEX’s Clayton Ruebensaal

On this 244th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Clayton Ruebensaal, executive vice president of Global B2B Marketing at American Express. Ruebensaal talks about his experience developing brand strategies for premium brands and his vision for the future.

We start our conversation with a dive into Ruebensaal’s world-travel experience as a child, having grown up with a father in the foreign service. Ruebensaal discusses how his time spent in so many different cultures shaped his view of the world and brought about his interest in all people.

We then speak on Ruebensaal’s journey to the present day and the success that he has had with Ritz Carlton and American Express, where he works now, and attributes that success to his teams’ ability to refresh the brand. “We reached into that history and found truths that we could bring to life,” Ruebensaal claimed. He then breaks down the challenges that brands face when attempting to revamp and how “the difference between success and failure is the change management.”

We then discuss how not only COVID but the death of George Floyd changed the mission at AMEX. Marketers “sit at this intersection between what the business needs and what the consumer needs.” Ruebensaal sees that as an opportunity to make a positive impact on the world.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Clayton was born in Georgetown to a military family that took him all over the world to places like Thailand and Israel. 2:19
  • With the traveling experience at such a young age, Clayton was still able to feel gratitude. 2:56
  • Clayton didn’t exactly have a path after graduating from college as a Creative Writing major. 3:45
  • After his first advertising internship at an advertising firm, Clayton knew precisely what he wanted to do. 4:30
  • Before going to the client side at Ritz Carlton, Clayton ran multiple advertising agencies, then ultimately moving to American Express. 5:10
  • At both Ritz Carlton and American Express, there was plenty of need for a refresh in the respective brands’ clarity. 5:55
  • Before Clayton arrived, the American Express brand and logo hadn’t been updated since 1975. 7:27
  • Clayton knew that with the arrival of the internet came the need to think bigger for American Express. 7:50
  • It takes effective change management to bring a brand to life after years of continuity. 8:47
  • Clayton and his team have spent time speaking to AMEX teams all over the world to understand how the brand could help them. 9:38
  • Having revamped two big brands, Clayton has found that it’s best to start with understanding the problem that needs to be solved. 10:59
  • Though the events of 2020 have accelerated things, they have not changed the fundamentals of marketing. 12:45
  • What started as a health crisis turned into multiple crises in the economic and cultural sectors. 13:27
  • When COVID broke out, Clayton and his team paused to examine where they could be of most assistance. 14:12
  • American Express launched its Business Class platform in an attempt to educated businesses on what they could do. 15:37
  • Every week, American Express tries to provide education in a different and attractive fashion. 17:16
  • Over the last 40 years, business has become sexy and something people love to be a part of. 17:58
  • It’s incredibly important for marketers to put out organic content that adds value to the company. 19:17
  • Useful does not have to mean uninteresting and useful content must be able to compete with everything out there. 21:06
  • After George Floyd was murdered, AMEX made sure they didn’t appear to be taking advantage of the moment. 22:34
  • AMEX started its 100 for 100 Program to provide education and mentorship to black female entrepreneurs and business owners. 23:40
  • The gap between the percentage of black-owned businesses and the percentage of revenue from those businesses is rooted in systemic racism. 25:28
  • Clayton attributes his experience in so many different cultures to his world view and interest in people. 29:03
  • Looking back, Clayton wishes he would not have stressed so much about little things. 30:00
  • The Lincoln Project is one of the brands that Clayton admires the most. 33:45
  • Clayton believes that marketers and their tunnel focus can be detrimental to their ability to change customer behavior. 35:45

Resources Mentioned:

Subscribe to the podcast:

Listen in iTunes (link: http://apple.co/2dbdAhV)
Listen in Google Podcast (link: http://bit.ly/2Rc2kVa)
Listen in Spotify (link: http://spoti.fi/2mCUGnC)

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

NBCUniversal’s Ad Sales Team Elevates Josh Feldman To Global Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, NBCUniversal promotes Josh Feldman to global CMO of its advertising and partnerships division, and BetterUp hires Cindy Goodrich as CMO.

NBCUniversal Promotes Josh Feldman To First Global Chief Marketing Officer Of Advertising and Partnerships Division

Amid a restructuring, NBCUniversal has elevated Josh Feldman to global CMO of its advertising and partnerships division.

Feldman has been with NBCU for five years, most recently serving as executive vice president, head of marketing and advertising creative. Prior to NBCU, he was senior VP and sales manager at Turner Broadcasting System.

BetterUp Names Cindy Goodrich Chief Marketing Officer

BetterUp has announced the appointment of Cindy Goodrich to CMO.

Goodrich joins BetterUp from HubSpot, where she oversaw brand, social media, public and influencer relations, digital, events and creative.

Hispanic Business At PepsiCo With Esperanza Teasdale

On this 243rd episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Esperanza Teasdale, vice president and general manager of the Hispanic Business Unit for PepsiCo Beverages North America. Teasdale is responsible for the overall strategy, engagement, and sales for a Hispanic business unit that brings in over $2 billion per year.

We start our conversation with Teasdale’s experience from growing up with two parents that had both immigrated to the US from Ecuador in search of a better life. Since they both had demanding blue-collar jobs, Teasdale “grew up as a latch key kid,” taking herself to and from school as a child, essentially responsible for herself. Teasdale then discusses her engineering education, spending time in manufacturing environments after graduation until attaining her MBA and ultimately moving onto sales. Once Teasdale realized that the sales sector wasn’t for her, she moved to marketing.

We then dive into the Hispanic business unit and the “untapped potential” that led to its creation. Now and into the future, Teasdale and her team are focused on multicultural marketing, as “everything we do should be multicultural because that is the fabric of our country.” Teasdale takes us through the helping hands she received throughout her career as a result of her willingness to be vulnerable. “You don’t have to wait for someone to ask you to take a seat; you can take it yourself.” Lastly, we discuss the opportunity that marketers have today to think differently about their previously rejected ideas because “the world today is different than it was before!”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • As the daughter of immigrants, Esperanza greatly appreciates the sacrifices that her parents made to have a better life. 1:37
  • Esperanza’s parents came from the hot ecosystem of Ecuador to the cold winter in the US. 2:30
  • Equality is something that everyone is trying to achieve in today’s world, especially with all that has gone on this year. 3:22
  • There were times when Esperanza’s parents were injured or sick, and no money came in the door. 3:54
  • After studying engineering in her undergrad in college, Esperanza spent quite a bit of time in a manufacturing environment. 6:58
  • Esperanza’s company paid for her MBA, after which she had her choice of path, ultimately choosing marketing. 7:48
  • The Hispanic Business Unit at PepsiCo was created to tap into the previously untapped Hispanic sector. 10:36
  • Multicultural marketing has gone through a revolution that parallels the makeup of our country. 12:29
  • There is no one-size-fits-all in the melting pot that is the US, even within each culture. 13:13
  • P&G has shown to be a champion of diversity and inclusion by driving cultural relevance through its advertising. 16:03
  • Heading into the future, we need to be more culturally relevant, and the Hispanic Unit is an example of what the marketing industry should look like. 19:10
  • The chaos and uncertainty of 2020 caused PepsiCo to pause during the initial breakout of COVID. 22:10
  • Esperanza and her team made sure to study the effects of COVID on the habits of Hispanic consumers. 22:50
  • The Hispanic population has shown resilience in its journey to get to the US and this helped maintain optimism in the face of chaos. 24:37
  • To promote passionate multicultural youth’s ability to vote, PepsiCo launched its Unmute Your Voice Campaign. 26:12
  • Esperanza’s team is focused on leaning into the communities that need the most help as it enters 2021. 28:06
  • 2020 has shown Americans to be empathetic, looking for ways to help however they can. 29:30
  • PepsiCo finds itself in so many households in the US that the decision to make a bold message brings a lot of risk. 32:41
  • Esperanza takes responsibility in her role as a Latina executive to bring others along to change their paths for the better. 35:06
  • The ability to show up, take action without someone asking, and put yourself out there will bring the greatest rewards. 38:30
  • Throughout her career, Esperanza has received advice and help from high-level executives to be successful. 39:15
  • The experience of losing both of her parents, while devastating, taught Esperanza a lot about herself and her family history. 42:10
  • Esperanza feels a responsibility to be empathetic to the motivations behind the actions of the people around her. 44:15
  • Looking back, Esperanza would encourage herself to take the offered hands of anyone that had done her wrong. 46:01
  • The Mastercard Initiative created a card that allowed anyone that is transgender to have their true identity on the card. 48:35
  • For those marketers with a fixed mindset, current times offer the opportunity to think about things differently. 50:52

Resources Mentioned:

Subscribe to the podcast:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Listen In: Making Your Move With NPR’s Michael Smith

Michael Smith is less than a year into his chief marketing officer role at National Public Radio (NPR) but has always approached his leadership position with a remit to create content that makes people think more critically about the world.

Smith began his position by understanding the existential purpose of the organization he was joining, including its cultural mandates and purpose within American society. In short, his first goal was to become an expert on the historical track of NPR.

Regardless of whether you’re in the world of media or not, there’s much to learn about general professional growth. Michael shares his secrets to making a job transition successfully, his perspective on the three stages of professional development as well as how he’s approaching NPR less like a ‘radio’ company and more like a media company and tapping into an expansive digital audience.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the a.network audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

What We’re Reading—Week Of January 11th

Facebook Will Pause Political Donations For At Least Three Months Following Siege On US Capitol

Business Insider

Facebook said it will stop donations to political parties for at least three months after pro-Trump supporters raided the US capitol, which caused Facebook to suspend President Donald Trump’s account indefinitely.

Why it matters: The move comes after JP Morgan and Citibank said they’d temporarily cut off donations for the same reason. Others such as Dow, Marriott and Morgan Stanley plan to pause donations specifically to GOP lawmakers who objected to confirming Joe Biden as president.

The Corporate Center: Driving The Next Normal

McKinsey & Company

In its latest survey of 300 global chief experience officers, McKinsey found that cost management remains the highest priority across all parts of organization. In addition, 90 percent of corporate-center executives believe the corporate center will be a driver of change for the rest of the company.

Why it matters: Transformational work in the corporate center can serve as a guiding light for the entire company.

Influencer Impact Increased By 57 Percent In 2020


A new report from Klear found that despite a 19 percent decline in the use of #ad in 2020, sponsored posts saw an average of 7,806 impressions, whereas in 2019 they averaged 4,827 impressions—a 57 percent increase.

Why it matters: Sponsored content on TikTok and Instagram Stories surged in 2020, as did the number of Gen Z-generated #ad content.

The Breach Of The U.S. Capitol Was A Breach Of Trust

Harvard Business Review

Trust is based on four tenets including competence, motives, fair means and impact. The violent attack on the US Capitol exhibits the cracks in all four of these.

Why it matters: To regain the nation’s confidence, government leaders can communicate a unified message that attacks on the Capitol are unacceptable, punish the guilty and immediately impeach Trump via the 25th Amendment.

Ad Age Best Places To Work 2021

Ad Age

For companies with over 200 employees, Ad Age’s third annual ‘Best Places to Work’ ranked PMG as the best place to work, followed by Mediaocean in second, Goodway Group in third, Tinuiti in fourth and Crossmedia in fifth. Among companies with 200 or less employees, Ad Age ranked Grow Enrollment as the best place to work, followed by InfoTrust, RBA, Closed Loop and XX Artists as fifth.

Why it matters: Winners reflect the high overall numerical scores based on survey responses from employers and their employees on six key areas: company culture, company environment, employee benefits, employee development, employee engagement and employee perks.

If Given The Choice, Nearly Half Of Consumers Prefer To Shop In-Store

According to Raydiant’s 2021 consumer behavior report, 40 percent of consumers have decreased their visits to physical stores because of COVID-19, but if given the choice, 46 percent would rather shop in person than online.

Raydiant’s findings, based on a survey among 1,000 US consumers on December 8, give marketers insight on what customers value about physical shopping experiences, and how brands can adjust their strategies to meet evolving preferences in the new year.

Despite concerns around COVID-19, nearly half of consumers said that if given the choice, they prefer to shop in person rather than online—a nine percent decline from Raydiant’s 2020 report.

One major reason for that preference is the ability to interact directly with products. For example, 33 percent of respondents like to see and feel products, while 26 percent enjoy the overall experience of shopping in person.

In addition, 13 percent say they appreciate the immediacy that in-store shopping provides, as opposed to waiting for delivery. Nine percent prefer a visit to the store because it lets them avoid high shipping costs.

Still, 40 percent of consumers have shopped in store less frequently due to the pandemic, while 13 percent have actually increased their trips to the store to a “major” degree.

Interestingly, perceptions of customer service have generally remained the same during the pandemic. A little over half (52 percent) said they haven’t noticed a change in customer service quality over the past 12 months, while 17 percent said it’s gotten worse.

COVID-19 has undoubtedly impacted brand loyalty, with many consumers switching from brands they used to purchase in-store to online competitors. In fact, 49 percent of respondents said they’ve done so. Another 25 percent said they switch brands more frequently than ever.

For marketers, this means creating a superior, seamless in-stores shopping experience, as 60 percent of respondents said that they’ve abandoned a brand for good due to one poor in-person experience. What’s more, 90 percent said that a good in-store experience makes them more likely to return, and 60 percent said they’ll spend more as a result.

The same is true for online experiences. Sixty-five of consumers said a good in-store experience will inspire them to buy other products online.

According to respondents, the top characteristics of an excellent in-store experience include availability and variety of products (33 percent), quality of service from in-store staff (30 percent) and the layout of a location and organization of products (14 percent).

To win consumers’ loyalty, 31 percent of respondents said brands must offer discounts exclusive to the physical location, 15 percent said brands need to have clear health and safety protocols and another 14 percent said businesses should offer exclusive products not available online.

When asked what kind of items they’re most likely to buy in-store, 70 percent said groceries, 65 percent said medicine, 47 percent said household supplies and 47 percent said alcohol.

What We’re Reading—Week Of January 4th

How Leaders Can Optimize Teams’ Emotional Landscapes

MIT Sloan Management Review

Research suggests that suppressing emotions can erupt in counterproductive ways, which is why leaders must respond to their employees’ heightened emotions by either nurturing them, aligning them, acknowledging them or diversifying them.

Why it matters: The playbooks of emotional management—pep talks and sounding the alarm—that leaders employ today are outdated and can hinder their organization’s strategic objectives.

2021: The Year Of The Package


Pandemic-induced behavior in 2020 led to a surge in the amount of plastic and non-sustainable packaging, one of society’s biggest environmental hazards.

Why it matters: Sustainable packaging communicates that a brand is acting responsibly, and that builds consumer trust. For that reason, many brands including Mars, Inc., H&M and Kimberly-Clark are switching to recyclable packaging in 2021.

Ford Appeals To Patriotic Duty With Campaign To Curb COVID-19

Marketing Dive

Ford launched a campaign and 30-second spot called #FinishStrong, urging people to protect themselves against COVID-19 this year as part of the brand’s patriotic duty to help the nation recover.

Why it matters: The initiative follows Ford’s earlier pandemic initiatives, which include producing 20 million face shields, 50,000 ventilators and 1.4 million washable gowns.

The 30 Best Creative Brand Moves Of 2020

Ad Age

Upon looking back on the past year, Ad Age’s creativity editors found that creative ideas flourished under all the turmoil of 2020, including those from brands like Michelob Ultra, Lego, Burberry, Epic Games and Jeep.

Why it matters: One digital campaign that stands out is Hellmann’s Animal Crossing Island, which let players drop off virtual turnips they were unable to sell at Hellmann’s Island and convert them into up to 50,000 real-life donated meals for Second Harvest Food Rescue.

Instagram Has Privately Advised Some Creators On How Often To Post, Offering A Rare Glimpse Into How Its Mysterious Algorithm Works


Three Instagram creators told Business Insider that Instagram has contacted them in the last few months to share specific tips on how often and what kind of content to post to boost their audience and engagement.

Why it matters: According to the creators, Instagram recommended that they post a high volume of content, and use the entire suite of Instagram products—in-feed posts, Reels, Stories and IGTV videos. For one micro-influencer, the network suggested three in-feed posts per week (including in-feed Reels or IGTV posts), eight to ten Stories per week (and at least two per day), four to seven Reels per week and one to three IGTV per week (including Instagram Live).