June not only marks the year’s halfway point, but it’s also when CMOs begin to plan for the new year. With six months left in 2023, there’s still lots to get done. Forrester’s Q2 2023 B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey featured a list of 16 marketing priorities. For each, we asked respondents (154 B2C marketing executives in the US) to indicate if the priority is critical, high, moderate, low, or “not on their agenda” for the remainder of 2023. The results are in, and the top five priorities that were rated “critical” most often are:

1. Evaluating if we’re using the right media channels to reach our target audiences.
Comms planning isn’t a once-a-year “set it and forget it” exercise. Keeping up with the ever-changing media landscape is particularly challenging for marketing executives. 2023 has already seen its share of material development — from Twitter chaos and TikTok bans to a metaverse hangover and generative AI … everywhere. And did we mention all the changes to the streaming market? Read: How To Create A Communications Plan.

2. Better measuring the ROI of our marketing efforts.
Marketing measurement is a priority staple among CMOs, but this year, it hits different. Economic uncertainty forces CMOs to double down on sure bets to growth — tried and true marketing tactics with some experimentation in the mix. As marketing budgets get slashed, CMOs are pressured to prove the ROI of their marketing efforts every step of the way. Read: The Marketing Measurement And Optimization Landscape, Q2 2023.

3. Optimizing our customer experience (CX).
Customer experience should persist at the top of CMOs’ “critical” priorities lists. But that’s not always the case: If it were, the average score in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) wouldn’t have declined in 2022 — the first time since 2018. And expectations are even higher this year, as consumers told Forrester that they expect better customer service in 2023. Read: Navigating The 2023 Downturn: B2C Marketing Executives.

4. Generating more loyal customers.
Revenue is the name of the game right now. But driving business growth doesn’t just mean acquiring new customers. The most super-loyal customers (which Forrester calls “devotees”) spend over 50% more than the average customer. Why? It all tracks back to great customer experiences and having a loyalty strategy in place inclusive of the entire customer lifecycle. Read: Close The Loop On Loyalty With A Modern Referral Program.

5. Determining how to best structure our marketing function.
Tenured CMOs are used to being asked to do more with less — especially when growth slows. Having more responsibilities with less resources means working smarter. This not only involves making improvements to process but also tough decisions about talent. And it starts at the very top by ensuring CEO and CMO alignment. Read: Untuck The CMO.

CMOs Have It Wrong With Emerging Tech

Only a third (33%) of US B2C marketing executives indicated that understanding how to leverage generative AI for marketing is a critical priority. In fact, this ranked as the least critical priority in our list of 16. Worse is that “advancing our metaverse strategy” ranked higher. Make no mistake: generative AI for marketing (and not the metaverse) is here today, and it’s here to stay. It’s currently having a profound effect on creativity, marketing operations, and advertising. CMOs who aren’t proactively planning for the impact of AI to their marketing strategies and functions are already behind. Read: Generative AI Unleashes Marketing’s Creativity Renaissance.

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