Good morning, readers. Today, we’ll explore a recent survey of CMOs and will see why the industry is buzzing about one specific data point, will check out what another survey says is marketers’ top barrier to success, will learn if marketers and consumers are on the same page when it comes to their view of delivering an amazing customer experience and will share what one author believes are the six content trends every marketer should know for 2019.

CMOs now spending more on martech than marketers

A bar chart from Gartner showing the top four areas where CMOs are spending money, with martech being the top spend at 29%.

Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2018-19 was just recently released and the industry is abuzz with one stat in particular; for the first time, says John Glenday in The Drum, chief marketing officers are “allocating a greater proportion of their budgets to digital tools than internal staff.” The survey, which polled senior marketing execs across the US and UK, found that investments in marketing technology have grown from 22% last year to 29% this year, while spending on staff has simultaneously decreased from 27% to 24%.

Additionally, the report found email marketing, online management and digital analytics as the technologies of greatest interest to CMOs, but noted that these were not expected to hold the top spots without competition—especially from artificial intelligence, which continues to make huge gains, ultimately ushering in an era of machine-launched and optimized campaigns. Check out more of the insights from Gartner’s survey on The Drum.

More vendors, more problems?

With the number of companies in the marketing technology landscape nearing 7,000, one thing is certain—there’s no shortage of technology vendors that are willing to help you solve any real (or perceived) marketing problem. But according to a recent Ascend2 survey reported on by Ross Benes in eMarketer, the real problem some organizations face is that they have too many standalone marketing systems. In fact, more than half (52%) of the survey respondents indicated that “integrating disparate systems” was their leading barrier to success, a trend that has been echoed in other surveys.

So how can your business keep your martech strategy on track? One way our clients have found extremely effective is (shameless plug ahead) by partnering with a marketing automation consulting firm like Perkuto that can help you identify what’s working in your organization, then pinpoint challenges and develop and execute an action plan for solving them. Get in touch if we can help you.

Is your brand living up to customer expectations?

Talk about a disconnect: The vast majority of marketers surveyed (87%) said they believe that they’re adequately delivering engaging customer experiences. But about half of consumers who responded to the Acquia-commissioned survey say that brands are falling short of their expectations, according to Lindsay Stein in Campaign. And it gets worse. Nearly two out of three consumers couldn’t remember when a brand met their expectations, and even four out of five marketers admitted to feeling disappointed with brands as consumers. Ouch!

Clearly, there is a ton of room for improvement when it comes to aligning what we think we’re delivering with what our customers want, and I’d suggest that open communication is key. You can only intuit so much from taking an arm’s-length approach to your customers and viewing them through the lens of data; don’t be afraid to occasionally step out from behind your analytics dashboard and actually talk to them. Ask them what they like and dislike about your site, your brand and their experience with your business from top to bottom, and really listen—then take action based on their insights. A customer who cares enough about your brand to give you their honest feedback is worth their weight in gold.

Content trends for 2019

Want to create amazing content that engages your target audience and generates leads in the process? We all do. So it’s important that we pay attention to what’s working well (and what isn’t) when it comes to content trends. In Forbes, author Peter Boyd offers six content marketing trends for 2019 that he believes will help marketers stay competitive in the marketplace.

For example, Peter suggests including long-form content in your content calendar, specifically content that comes in at 2,000+ words, as these pieces tend to get more social shares and enjoy love from the search engines. Additionally, Peter asserts that getting your company and your content ready for a chatbot is a smart move. Read all of Peter’s content trends.