CMO Council Study Finds Marketers Fail To Leverage Visual Content


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but, according to Liz Miller (pictured left), Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, marketers have not turned a strategic lens on optimizing the return from their visual media content investments.

While 65 percent of senior marketing executives believe visual assets are core to how their brand story is communicated, a scant 27 percent have the ability to aggregate, organize and manage these assets across marketing and non-marketing teams—including those outside of the organization.

A new study from the CMO Council—From Content to Creativity: The Role of Visual Media in Impactful Brand Storytelling—reveals that marketers believe visual assets, including photography, illustrations, infographics and videos, are core to customer engagement and will increase in usage in the coming year. Video will most dramatically increase in importance in the near future, according to 79 percent of senior marketers. Infographics (60 percent), photographs (50 percent), and illustrations (41 percent) will also increase in usage. The 17-page strategic white paper is available for download today.

Conducted in partnership with Libris, a PhotoShelter business unit, the study reveals that internal silos, disconnected content development strategies and a vast list of other marketing priorities have prevented visual assets from being fully leveraged across the organization.

“Marketers have been remiss in approaching the visual asset dialogue as part of the strategic customer experience and engagement dialogue,” adds Miller. “Perhaps because visual assets have long been the domain of creative or agency resources, the conversation around maximizing value across the organization has fallen off of the priority list. But as customers continue to react in meaningful ways to visual media, marketing cannot afford to stand idly by and not include visuals in the content ROI agenda.”

The Power of Visual Content

Consumer research shows that 40 percent of customers will respond better to visual information than plain text (Zabisco). Marketers have, in turn, shifted content production to include vast quantities of graphics, videos, photography and illustrations. Infographic production, by one estimate, increases by 1 percent every day (Zabisco). Yet according to the 177 marketing executives surveyed by the CMO Council in the second quarter of 2015, current investments in centralization of these assets do not reflect this level of priority.

“Companies will continue making massive investments in the production and procurement of visual media assets because of the obvious and powerful impact on audience engagement and customer experience,” explained Andrew Fingerman, CEO of PhotoShelter. “Yet as the study shows, hiding these assets away in team silos is destroying the greater organization’s potential return on content investments. As more content is captured and created, companies will need to rebalance their focus with a greater emphasis on strategies behind digital asset management, including centralization, storage and accessibility.”

The audit, conducted through the CMO Council’s Content ROI Center, tapped into the insights of 177 senior marketers, with 52 percent from B2B organizations, 18 percent from B2C companies and 30 percent from hybrid organizations selling to B2B2C. A quarter of respondents hail from organizations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, and 41 percent hold chief marketing officer, head of marketing or senior vice president of marketing titles.



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