This year should bring an increase in spending from most marketers. A survey of its members by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council—a global network of senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries—found that 65 percent expect to boost spending in 2021.

While many industry sectors have struggled in the past year, the CMO Council says that it appears most marketers have already done all the cutting, pruning and restructuring of budgets and teams in 2020. Only 10 percent of those surveyed said that they would cut spending in 2021 while 24 percent expect no change.

Automation is also attracting a lot of attention from marketing leaders, with 69 percent reporting significant or growing investments in marketing technology to improve effectiveness. The CMO Council notes that the most important areas of marketing automation and transformation will be sourcing and using customer data insights, executing campaigns more effectively, as well as improving operations and performance.

A quarter of marketing leaders say they will downsize or re-structure their marketing organizations in 2021, in contrast to 64 percent who will not. Working more effectively with lines of business is the No. 1 priority for marketing leaders, who are also keen to lower cost, increase efficiency and do a better job of both globalizing and localizing campaigns. Half of marketers surveyed want to optimize their customer journey, and more than a third want to boost acquisition and conversion rates through better data-driven interaction and digital innovation

“The most relevant and compelling areas of conversation among our members right now are all about ROI, efficiency and revenue optimization,” says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “This means being more focused on digital marketing transformation, creating value from customer data, and upgrading customer engagement and experience.”