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Survey of US marketers reveals only 14% of brands are chasing growth amid economic turbulence

Ellen Corrigan
Ellen Corrigan
Chief Revenue Officer, Growth Americas
4 min read
15 August 2023

Brands are pivoting their growth marketing strategy to invest more in bottom of the funnel channels to drive short-term growth, including video and audio, retargeting and remarketing, ecommerce and paid search, according to new research from global digital agency DEPT®.

According to its 2023 Growth Marketing Report, while marketers are still investing across the full funnel and tracking appropriate metrics, they’ve shifted to a more conservative mindset, with only 14% of marketers maintaining a growth marketing mindset versus 24% in 2022. 

“It’s a challenging time for brands due to the uncertainty in the economy, but we’re seeing many brands drive growth with limited investments,” said Rob Murray, CEO, Growth for the Americas at DEPT®. “It’s actually a really exciting time for growth-focused marketers. Emerging tech like generative AI has the potential to change everything about the way brands reach and engage with their audiences. New channels, creative styles and creative automation are making it possible to increase efficiency with reduced spend. And, there is more opportunity than ever to leverage data to stay ahead of your competition.”

Published annually, DEPT®’s Growth Marketing Report features survey results from hundreds of marketing leaders on the state of growth marketing (the blend of performance marketing and brand marketing) in the US. The survey showed that brands are seeing stronger opportunities to grow their business through a focus on bottom of the funnel channels that capture quick wins. This is leading to inconsistent investments in key growth drivers – strategy and planning, data and analytics, and creative: 

  • 45% of marketers are investing in strategy and planning, down from 68% in 2022. In reality, strategic media planning can uncover untapped spaces and help brands find competitive advantages. Testing new channels, creative styles and leveraging data to uncover pockets of opportunity while competition is reduced can help brands emerge stronger and more resilient. 
  • 48% of marketers are investing in data and analytics in 2023 versus 70% in 2022. However, investing in data and analytics can be one of the strongest ways to succeed during economic uncertainty. Whether it’s through incrementality testing or analyzing marginal CPA, it’s important for brands to know the amount of ad spend that yields the most efficiency in order to unlock more growth. And, insights into their customer base is key to knowing how to pivot campaigns and stand out from competitors. 
  • 46% of marketers are investing resources in their creative process in 2023 versus 50% in 2022. This could be due to more brands using creative automation at scale, as they are able to make more impact and win more customers without increasing their investments in creative. 

The report also found that despite the challenges of the moment, marketers are ultimately becoming more mature in their growth marketing efforts. DEPT®’s proprietary Growth Marketing Maturity Index (GMMI™) allows brands to measure how advanced their growth marketing practices are. This year, more brands than ever ranked in the most mature GMMI categories, which means they have implemented a full-funnel customer experience with all goals tying back to their broader vision, and they are investing in strategy, measurement and creative to drive consistent growth. 

DEPT® helps clients like eBay, Skechers, Spotify and Rothy’s future proof their business and transform their growth marketing efforts with pioneering offerings that span media, technology, data, AI, creative and performance marketing. The agency’s proprietary marketing technology platform, ADA by DEPT® also helps clients automate manual work, combine data sources for better decision making, and use AI to make campaigns smarter and faster. 

To learn more, download the full 2023 Growth Marketing Report

Survey methodology: For the 2023 report, DEPT® surveyed marketing leaders at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue, equally represented across three industries: retail, technology, and financial services. Respondents were asked about their understanding and adoption of growth marketing, investment priorities across the marketing funnel, and the metrics that inform their strategies.


Chief Revenue Officer, Growth Americas

Ellen Corrigan