Kolkata, Oct 15 (PTI) A new study involving 1,361 chief marketing officers (CMO) of 12 countries including India has found that their top challenge is understanding the changes in consumer behaviour the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to.

The study, "Into the unknown: CMO Survey 2020", conducted by digital and creative communications agency Dentsu, revealed that the executives are trying to figure out which of the consumer behaviours will change permanently and which will fizzle out in post-Covid scenario.

This challenge is compounded by falling spend, with two-thirds (62 per cent) of the CMOs surveyed saying that their marketing budgets will be slashed or held flat over the next year, the study conducted in May-June revealed.

To cope with the challenges, 46 per cent of the marketing executives in India are pursuing strategies adopted during previous recessions, compared to 17 per cent globally.

However, only 6 per cent are doing so in China, Dentsu said in a statement.

More than 100 CMOs were surveyed in India to conduct the study.

"Exceptional times call for exceptional thinking. The COVID-19 global health crisis has yielded an incisive economic downturn that creates an unknown and largely unpredictable environment for CMOs to navigate.

"And our survey reveals there is a risk that CMOs are still using existing approaches to manage a challenge that is without precedent," global CEO of Dentsu Wendy Clark said.