New Optimizely Research Uncovers How Hidden Costs Are Shaping Marketers’ Current Realities

The report found 76% of marketers are skeptical that their marketing tools will generate the ROI they are hoping for

NEW YORK, June 26, 2023 – Optimizely, the leading digital experience platform (DXP) provider, today unveiled a new research report Confessions of a CMO: Uncovering Hidden Costs Impacting ROI that reveals 72% of marketing leaders feel that their tech stacks don’t function as seamlessly as they should. 

Based on a survey of over 300 U.S. senior marketing executives at companies with 100+ employees, the report uncovers hidden marketing costs, technological deficiencies, pain points, and potential solutions.

“No one likes to waste money, and marketing leaders have shown they are far too often spending on tools they know don’t fully address their pain points,” said Shafqat Islam, Optimizely’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This data supports what we understand at Optimizely — marketing tech should not be a burden, but empower greater creativity, collaboration, and productivity within teams. We believe that teams should have the option to leverage these capabilities from consolidated, high-quality vendors that reduce TCO and improve interoperability.” 

Beyond that, the survey looked ahead at where marketing teams are aiming to invest, and found 92% of senior marketing executives say they are looking to adopt generative AI capabilities. 

Additional key takeaways from Optimizely’s new study include:

Hidden costs are holding marketers back

  • 76% of senior marketers are skeptical that their marketing tools will generate the ROI they are hoping for. 
  • Senior marketers report that about 23% of their un-integrated tech results in unnecessary redundancy.
  • 70% of senior marketers admit their organizations approve investments in new technology solutions without a defined ROI plan sometimes, very often, or all the time.

The new martech stack tools are being left to rust

  • 53% of senior marketers report companies use older solutions rather than investing in new tools because of the cost and time it would take to retrain staff. 
  • The other main reasons teams’ martech stacks aren’t up to date:
    • 43% say leaders are too attached to the old solutions.
    • 42% say the team is afraid to let go of a few specific functions.
    • 39% say the rollout was disrupted and never resumed.

Overburdened with too many tools, marketing teams rely heavily on IT professionals

  • 95% of senior marketers whose companies use 20+ tools agreed: marketers are leaning too heavily on the IT team.
  • 52% of senior marketers are very or extremely reliant on their IT team for the day-to-day use of marketing tools. 
  • 85% of senior marketers said their IT team is left to make marketing decisions despite a lack of relevant experience.

In search of efficient creativity, marketers are jumping into generative AI 

  • 44% of marketers report their company will adopt generative AI quickly, while 48% will adopt it later once bugs are worked out. 
  • The most beneficial generative AI abilities according to senior marketers:
    • 48% - Code generation 
    • 48% - Image generation 
    • 48% - Audio generation 
    • 44% - Automated conversations 
    • 41% - Text generation 

To read the full report and learn how Optimizely can help marketing teams uncover their hidden costs and maximize ROI, visit


The Optimizely Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( among 300 U.S. Senior Marketing Executives, with a minimum seniority of Director, at companies with 100 or more employees, between May 16th and May 24th, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 5.7 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About Optimizely

At Optimizely, we're on a mission to help people unlock their digital potential. We do that by reinventing how marketing and product teams work to create and optimize digital experiences across all channels. With Optimizely One, our industry-first operating system for marketers, we offer teams flexibility and choice to build their stack their way with our fully SaaS, fully decoupled, and highly composable solution. We help companies around the world orchestrate their entire content lifecycle, monetize every digital experience and experiment across all customer touchpoints – all through Optimizely One, the leading digital experience platform that powers every phase of the marketing lifecycle through a single, AI-accelerated workflow.

Optimizely has nearly 1500 employees across our 21 global offices and has 700+ partners. We are proud to help more than 10,000 businesses, including H&M, PayPal, Zoom, and Toyota, enrich their customer lifetime value, increase revenue and grow their brands. At Optimizely, we live each day with a simple philosophy: large enough to serve, small enough to care. Learn more at 

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