The Soda Academy

Respondent Overview

Organization Type

Key Insight:

  • 2015 SoDA DMO survey respondents were more senior-level than ever before (9 out of 10 were key decision makers).
  • The share of respondents identifying themselves as consultancies nearly doubled this year.

Click graph below to enlarge

Organization Type

The share of respondents identifying themselves as consultancies nearly doubled this year, arguably due to the larger role firms like Deloitte and Accenture (as well as other innovation consulting practices) are playing in the industry. SoDA member companies (and other leading players in the digital services industry) have increasingly become M&A targets for the major consultancies who are seeking to build (or buy) end-to-end, integrated digital capabilities.

The shift allows those consultancies to better service their clients and capture a larger percentage of growing budgets – particularly the rising budgets for platforms, applications and tools outside of the marketing realm. Brands are desperate to redefine how they serve connected consumers and operate connected businesses. As such, building an integrated ecosystem of companies that provide end-to-end consultation>ideation>execution>analytics services is an increasingly prevalent trend this year.


Consumer Marketers by Category

Key Insight:

The share of client-side respondents in the Service Sector rose significantly in 2015.

The growth trend was particularly pronounced on a year-over-year basis, but not out of synch with global macroeconomic trends. In fact, Services are projected to account for almost 50% of global job growth from 2010 to 2020.

Click graph below to enlarge

Consumer Brand Marketing

The percentage of client-side respondents in the service sector rose substantially in our 2015 study, increasing 16 percentage points to 53% of the total client respondent base.

Albeit a sharp increase, this is not an unexpected trend. The share of the service sector in economic value-added* measures has grown steadily over the past few decades. For example, the service sector in the U.K. was responsible for 67% of economic value-added in 1990. By 2014, that figure had mushroomed to nearly 80%.1

1 Source: The World Bank

* Value added is the net output of a sector after adding up all outputs and subtracting intermediate inputs.


Job Title

Key Insight:

C-Level executives are showing unprecedented levels of interest in digital marketing research and insights as evidenced by their dramatically expanded participation in SoDA’s 2015 DMO Study.

Click graph below to enlarge

Job Title

A record 88% of respondents (up from 82% in 2014) were key decision makers and influencers (C-Level, Senior Executives, VPs and Directors) with annual marketing budgets ranging from US$5M to over US$100M. The trend was even more pronounced when we isolate C-Level respondents. The share of C-Level client respondents swelled to 68%, up from 30% of all client-side respondents in 2014.


C-Level Respondents

Click graph below to enlarge

C-Level Respondents


Geographic Region

Click graph below to enlarge

Geographic Location

While North American executives are still the single largest contingent of DMO Survey respondents, participants from Europe, Asia and Latin America are growing in numbers and importance.

We fully expect that participation from Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa will continue to rise, based on global macroeconomic trends as well as the growth patterns we’re seeing within SoDA’s own membership base. Twenty percent of SoDA’s member company offices are now in Latin America, Africa and Asia*, up from 13% in 2014.

* SoDA members in Australia and New Zealand are not included in this figure.


Global Economic Output

Click graph below to enlarge

Global Economic Output

By 2020, the economic output of emerging economies is expected to outpace advanced economies for the first time. Top players interested in international expansion should consider emerging markets for high-growth opportunities.

However, not all emerging markets are created equal. The A.T. Kearny Global Business Policy Council analyzed the 25 largest emerging markets, going beyond a simple comparison of GDP and related economic forecasts. They looked at structural factors that position markets to withstand unforeseen economic shocks and foster longer-term economic growth and stability. The seven markets that rose to the top among emerging markets were China, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, the Philippines and Mexico. To see the ATKearny research study, click here.