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Looking for the 2023-2024 Higher Ed CMO Study? Click here to visit our CMO Study website, download the reports, and watch the webinars.

The SimpsonScarborough Higher Ed CMO Study is an industry-wide comprehensive study that captures comparative data on budgets and resourcing, organizational structure and staffing, marketing performance, strategic priorities, and much more.
It's the largest longitudinal study of higher education marketers in the industry.

Key Findings from the 2021 CMO Study

Lead Marketers (finally) have a seat at the table

  • 73% report being included in the President's Cabinet

We're not taking brand performance seriously enough

  • 99% of lead marketers report being responsible for brand strategy, but only 51% report having measures in place to track brand strength over time

Budgets are strained — some more than others

  • 75% say their budget is inadequate to meet the demands of leadership, but those at highly tuition-dependent institutions are significantly more likely to report a budget decrease than their peers at lesser tuition-dependent institutions

Digital is still a priority, but growth is slow

  • In 2019-20, lead marketers were 10x more likely to report an increase in digital spending versus a decrease. In 2021-22, that number dropped to only 3x more likely with a full 10% reporting net decrease. 

Higher ed has a labor problem — and it's just beginning

  • Lead marketers at highly tuition-dependent institutions are 83% more likely to report a staffing decrease than an increase.