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Read Professor Moorman’s analysis of key survey results.

Top Marketers See U.S. Economy on the Rebound

The results from The CMO Survey are in and one fact is very clear: Chief Marketing Officers are overwhelmingly optimistic about the U.S. economy’s outlook. When asked if they were more or less optimistic about the overall U.S. economy compared to last quarter, optimists outweighed pessimists 8 to 1.

Figure 1. Optimists Outweigh Pessimists 8 to 1

The U.S. CMOs who took part in the survey were also asked to indicate their optimism for the overall U.S. economy on a scale of 0-100, with 0 being the least optimistic. Considering the debt collection in the US,  their overall optimism level came in at 63.4, an 11-point increase from when the survey was last conducted in August 2011 at the height of the national debt crisis. This also represents a 16-point increase from the survey’s low of 47.7 in February 2009 (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Marketer Optimism for Overall U.S. economyThis bullish sentiment is strongest among the sector many experts consider critical to the sustainability of the recovery—B2B product companies. These are the manufacturing companies that make many of the components that end up in consumer products. Top marketers in this sector showed the biggest optimism gains, moving from a low score of 48 in August 2011 to a high 62 in February 2011—a 29.4% increase. Other sectors showed the following optimism increases: B2B-Product (+19.5%), B2B-Service (+17.6%), and B2C-Service (+9.3%)

Looking further at the data, results indicate that CMOs have strong confidence in the underlying customer dynamics central to any economic recovery. This is an excellent foundation for sustained growth. When we move beyond the realm of debt-to-equity ratios and return on investment to the realm of real customer behavior, we are on firm footing. Looking at Figure 3, we see that top marketers predict an increase in the number of customers entering markets, purchase volume, and likelihood of buying a range of related offerings from their companies. These figures paint a very positive view of the economic landscape. I’m very hopeful that these are the true signs of sustainable economic growth.

Figure 3. Customer Metrics: Forecasted Customer Outcomes in Next Year