New Survey from Canva, MMA Global Finds Senior Marketers See Creative Output as a Top Priority, Despite Investment Gaps and Shrinking Talent Pool

New Survey from Canva, MMA Global Finds Senior Marketers See Creative Output as a Top Priority, Despite Investment Gaps and Shrinking Talent Pool

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  • Nearly 70% believe creative will become more important in the next year
  • More than 36% believe they are under investing in creative talent
  • 30% recently moved work in-house, and 31% expect to do so in the next year

SYDNEY & NEW YORK — Canva, the world’s only all-in-one visual communication platform, and MMA Global, the leading global trade association for marketers, today released joint research on the value of creative output, tech stack saturation and navigating talent wars.

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We’re delighted to work with the MMA team to identify the pain points and opportunities that marketers are facing today, in order to shed light on top-of-mind issues to inform their decision making.

Canva and the MMA surveyed nearly 100 CMOs and senior marketers in decision-making roles from the U.S. and the U.K, and found that in today’s hyper competitive brand world, more than three-quarters (77%) believe creative output — encompassing all elements of campaigns and content — is more crucial now than ever before, with 69% saying that creative is a top marketing priority in their organization.

The survey revealed a variety of external forces fueling creativity in new ways, and a number of obstacles blocking marketers from unlocking full creative potential. Top findings include:

Creative Output is the New Gold Standard

Marketing leaders are placing increasing value on creative, and there’s expectation this trend will continue.

  • More than two-thirds (68%) believe that creative will become more important to their organization in the next 12 months.
  • 72% believe that creative output adds value to customers’ lives.

But Creative Investment is Falling Short of Proven Worth

Despite the increasing value placed on creative, there is a significant gap in investment.

  • More than half (55%) invest 10 to 25% of their total marketing budget on creative, while nearly a fifth (18%) invest less than 10% on creative.
  • 41% say they aren’t making the right level of investment in creative tools, systems and technologies.

The Creative Process Has Increased in Complexity

Today’s ecosystem of creative tools is bringing plenty of improvements, but not without new challenges.

  • The following elements are ranked as more challenging now (46%) than they were five years ago: managing resources and budgets, maintaining consistency of output, and managing systems and tools.
  • Most positive benefits come from the following tools, either by increasing efficiency or improving the creative output: collaboration platforms (54%), photo/video editing tools (54%), generative AI tools (35%).

Keeping Pace with Technological Advances is a Struggle

Marketing leaders are mostly confident in their creative output when compared to competitors, but there are areas where they feel outpaced.

  • Comparing their creative output and processes to competitors:
    • 34% believe their creative output is better, and 53% believe it’s on par.
    • 45% believe they’re worse at managing a creative process that optimizes for speed, efficiency and flexibility.
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In-House Model Gains in Appeal

The landscape of creative management is shifting with more work being brought in-house vs. outsourced to agencies. In-sourcing is mostly seen as a superior process for teams, but outsourcing is used when there is a need to collaborate on high impact creative output.

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  • 30% have moved more work in-house in the last 12 months, and 31% expect to do the same in the next year.
  • 48% say creative strategy is mostly done in-house, while 23% say it’s mostly outsourced.
  • 83% say that in-house is better from a cost perspective, while 61% say that outsourcing is better for quality of creative output.

Pool for Top Creative Talent Is Shrinking

There’s concern about a diminishing pool of strong creative talent, underscoring the challenge of securing, managing and retaining talent in a competitive market.

  • 47% say the pool of strong talent has gotten smaller.
  • 80% feel satisfied with outsourced creative talent and resources; while 74% feel satisfied with in-house creative talent or resources.

“Producing stellar creative output while optimizing for resource efficiency is a massive challenge for every modern marketer today. How brands show up has gotten more competitive, there is a lot of tech to wade through, and the talent pool is narrowing,” said Canva CMO Zach Kitschke. “We’re delighted to work with the MMA team to identify the pain points and opportunities that marketers are facing today, in order to shed light on top-of-mind issues to inform their decision making.”

“While the last few years might seem solely focused on perfecting data, audience development, and targeting to drive outcomes, marketers are also recognizing the need to focus on a second creative revolution,” said MMA Global CEO Greg Stuart. “Marketers face a pivotal moment where embracing AI and the challenge of managing the Brand via what can be thousands of executions will redefine creativity’s role and brand communication, demanding a new and updated focus to managing the creative process.”

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Access “The State of Creative Process in Marketing” here.

About Canva

Launched in 2013, Canva is a free online visual communications and collaboration platform with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design. Featuring a simple drag-and-drop user interface and a vast range of templates ranging from presentations, documents, websites, social media graphics, posters, apparel to videos, plus a huge library of fonts, stock photography, illustrations, video footage, and audio clips, anyone can take an idea and create something beautiful.

Canva offers a variety of tools purpose-built for marketers. In recent years, Canva has introduced a number of products and services to help marketers and creatives unlock new levels of creativity, collaborate more effectively, and scale content creation. This includes Canva Teams, the newly introduced Canva Enterprise offering, Brand Kit, and Marketing Work Kits.

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About MMA Global

MMA Global is a non-profit trade association dedicated to Architecting the Future of Marketing while Relentlessly Delivering Growth Today. Our Prime Audience is Pioneering Chief Marketers; our Purpose is to enable marketers to drive innovation and enduring business value in an increasingly dynamic and ultra-connected world. The MMA has 800+ corporate members in over three dozen countries and is a truly global organization with offices in 14 countries throughout APAC, EMEA, LATAM, and North America. While the MMA is run and controlled by Marketers, it is the only Marketing-oriented trade body to include all aspects of the ecosystem: Media Companies, Enabling MarTech & AdTech, Platforms, Consultancies, and Agencies. This gives us the perspective to tackle industry issues comprehensively.

Methodology

The study used an online questionnaire. Fieldwork was conducted in May 2024, among large marketers (72% have revenues over $1BN), across a variety of sectors. Respondents were senior marketers (C-Level 32%, EVP/SVP/VP 35%, Other senior 32%).

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240616737948/en/

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Contacts

Press contacts
Chris Hew for Canva
chew@canva.com

Mission North for Canva
canva@missionnorth.com

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