Grant Thornton

Marketing Spending Climbs CFOs’ Priority Lists

Feb. 13, 2024
Surveys from various firms show greater confidence in growth; ‘That the finance people are optimistic speaks highly about where we are.’

It’s still early days but a handful of recently published studies suggest we might look back at 2024 as the year marketing and automating were the blocking and tackling of business.

The latest data points come from Grant Thornton, which recently polled more than 240 CFOs for its quarterly report series. Among the headlines are that 71% of respondents expect revenue growth this year, an increase of five points from three months earlier. Similarly, sentiment has improved (see the chart above) when it comes to cost controls and labor and supply chain needs—i.e., the executives don’t plan on devoting as much of their budgets to those latter items.

That growing confidence and extra cash flow are translating into a greater willingness to spend on initiatives that can ensure sales and share gains aren’t only for the short term: 45% of CFOs expect to spend more on sales and marketing in the next year. That demand generation is high on the priorities list is something of an eyebrow-raiser; in the past, C-suites were almost always reining in that line item late in a business cycle.

“They’re confident in their supply chain and in their growth projections,” Paul Melville, the national managing principal of Grant Thornton’s CFO Advisory group, said in his firm’s report. “What we’re seeing is they feel that they actually can deliver on their growth projections.”

Investing in marketing also ranked high in The Conference Board’s C-Suite Outlook 2024 study. Globally, it trailed only new products and services and Conference Board researchers noted that “about two-thirds of CEOs say they are planning to increase budgets for customer service, customer experience, and new customer acquisition over the next 24 months.” Solid recent U.S. GDP data will have confirmed many of those intentions.

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