CMOs are more likely to be responsible for AI adoption than other C-suite executives, but less likely to understand it, according to a new survey.

CMOs are most likely to say they have a beginner’s understanding of AI (30%) and least likely to say they have an advanced understanding (10%), according to the survey by the Marketing AI Institute and AI-driven conversational marketing platform Drift. They also are least likely to have high or very high degrees of confidence in evaluating AI technology (33%) and are least likely to be infusing AI into their daily workflows (26%).

The survey also found CEOs and CMOs are the two most likely roles to own AI adoption and integration within marketing organizations. CEOs are most commonly cited (35%) as the full owner or at least partial owner alongside other roles. CMOs are a close second, with 33% either partially or fully owning AI.

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Other roles don’t come anywhere close. Just 15% of respondents say the chief technology officer is involved in AI ownership, while 8% say the IT department or the chief digital officer is involved. 21% say no one owns AI at all.

Why we care. The survey findings suggest marketers increasingly recognize the potential of AI to improve their work. However, there’s still a big gap between potential and reality, as many marketers are still in the early stages of AI adoption. Do CMOs really lack understanding of it? It could be, or it could be that familiarity is breeding a bit of humility. If that’s not the case, they need to get up to speed fast and get to work creating an AI integration strategy. 

Source: AI Marketing Institute’s 2023 State of Marketing AI Report

Critically important

Overall, 64% of marketers believe AI will be either very or critically important to their success over the next 12 months. This is a significant increase from last year when 51% said this. More than 3/4ths (77%) of marketers said the top benefit of AI is reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks. 

Other top benefits of AI cited by marketers include:

  • Improving targeting and personalization (72%).
  • Increasing marketing campaign effectiveness (69%).
  • Gaining insights into customer behavior (67%).
  • Automating tasks (66%).
  • Generating new ideas (65%).

Nearly all (98%) marketers are already personally using AI in some way — most commonly, they’re experimenting with it (45%). Only 29% say it’s already infused into their daily workflows.

Methodology. The “2023 State of Marketing AI Report” is based on responses to 15 questions about AI and its role in marketing, as well as responses to six questions about the demographics of the survey takers. It took place between April 26 and July 12, 2023, and 918 respondents completed at least some of the survey, with the vast majority (96%) completing the full survey.

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