Results CMO Barometer Belgium

The marketing year 2023 will be dominated by many topics according to the “CMO Barometer” of the Serviceplan Group in Belgium and The Netherlands

What moves the marketing elite? What are the hot marketing trends for 2023 and which capabilities and skills does a CMO need to have to make their organisation fit for the future? The "CMO Barometer", an annual international study by the Serviceplan Consulting Group and Facit Research, provides up-to-date answers to these questions. Also in the Benelux, because Belgian and Dutch CMOs participated in the survey and provided us insights into how they assess marketing trends, but also how they see their role and tasks currently and in the future. The results show: recession, crisis, branding, digitization and sustainability are hot topics.

Brussels, 27 October 2022 – 5 key insights can be distilled from the responses of the top marketers in the online survey "CMO Barometer", Benelux edition:

Agility and flexibility as success factors.

Recession, inflation, war ... in times of crisis, CMOs indicate that flexibility and agility are key drivers to make their organization fit for the future. Digital transformation is a key focus in this respect.  

In these times of crisis, time to market should be shorter and you must explain to your customers what you are doing to give them trust in the brand and in the product/service.”, Dick Gussen, Brand & Media Partnerships Director, Corendon

Let’s stay connected.

Being close to people is key in times of crisis - whether it's your own employees through good leadership or your customers and their (changed) needs. Therefore, emotional brand building as well as e-commerce are considered important marketing trends.

Consumers are under financial pressure: how to not irritate them with your marketing messages while they are paying extreme energy bills.”, Nora Leonard, Marketing Manager, Emesa

Digitization keeps on accelerating.

From big data marketing to AI and automation: the digital train rapidly gained speed through Corona and it will not slow down according to CMOs. On the contrary.

Sustainability is here to stay.

Sustainability communication and brand purpose remain core topics and do not lose weight even in economically difficult times.

Belgium and Dutch marketeers think alike.

The above insights apply to both Belgium and the Netherlands. Nevertheless, some differences are noticeable. In Belgium, uncertainty and crisis weigh more heavily in the answers regarding "hot topic" than in the Netherlands, where sustainability scores higher. This may partly explain why Dutch CMOs put vision and inspiration higher on their to-do list than their Belgian colleagues.

About the CMO Barometer.

The CMO Barometer is based on an online survey of marketing executives from companies of all industries and sizes. The survey is conducted annually in different countries.
The CMO Barometer's total of 7 questions in Belgium and 8 in The Netherlands deal with CMOs' assessment of current marketing trends, their most important CMO tasks, their role today and in the future, crisis-related changes, and the CMO's role in companies' transformation agendas.

Hot topics for 2023.

Recession, branding and uncertainty are the 3 hottest marketing topics for 2023 according to the survey in Belgium. If we add the results from the Dutch CMOs, we notice that sustainability replaces uncertainty in the top 3.

Trends in marketing.

Sustainability, connected commerce / e-commerce and emotional brand building are considered as the most important marketing trends in 2023. Belgian as well as Dutch CMOs score these topics +80%.

“It is crucial to be able to make sense of the market quickly and execute the right marketing decisions that adapt to the market on short term and build brand reputation on the longer term.”, Sabrina Heymans, Media & PR Manager, Philips

The role and skills of the CMO.

If we take a look at the key areas of focus for 2023, ‘agility and flexibility’ are considered as the most important capabilities and skills to have these days (24%), followed by ‘collaborating with and leading team’ (21% for Belgium vs 23% for Benelux). Third superpower of the CMO is ‘digital and savy’ in Belgium (12%) and being ‘inspiring / visionary / motivating’ if we add the Dutch results. Also empathy, a ‘data based mindset’ and strategy oriented are important skills to have under your belt.  

My Superpower?  My commercial capability, I’m not a Powerpoint marketeer.”, Rijck Nijhuis, Marketing Director, Danone

Regarding the CMO’s tasks: increasing marketing efficiency, defining the brand purpose and a consistent digital transformation are the biggest priorities on the CMO’s agenda of 2023 in Belgium. On a Benelux level, customer experience tops the chart, followed by the brand purpose and encouraging team spirit.  

In a market reality where consumers will be more choiceful and price-conscious driven by inflation, we need to secure that our brands have strong enough value equations.”, Anouk Van Hauteghem, Marketing Director, Coca-Cola

The future of the CMO.

As mentioned before, agility is becoming a success factor. It’s about the ability to move fast in terms of digitization, ever-changing trends as well as data-driven approaches. Agencies play an important role to challenge CMOs according to the survey. Also creativity, know-how and the focus on KPI’s are important assets for the CMO.  

As a marketer I must develop my vision and my ability to convey that vision to the operational teams to create maximum support base to follow up on that vision.”, Jens Riga, Digital Director, Weight Watchers

Hybridity was the special category of Best Brands 2022 in Belgium. The answer to the question ‘How will your brand further reinforce an integrated experience online and offline’ teaches us that the alignment between online and offline is by far (59%) the biggest challenge and priority.  

My current hot topic: connecting offline experiences with online performance.”, Stijn Vermeulen, Marketing Manager, Mini

For the detailed results of the "CMO Barometer," including a ranking of the results and additional CMO voices, please see the presentation attached.

Download the results
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