No question about it: The role of the chief marketing officer has dramatically changed over the past few years. On one front, the digital marketing landscape is taking over and on the other is a growing corporate accountability and shift toward the age of the customer. Layer in management, staffing, planning, and, of course, the business of creativity itself, the makeup of a modern CMO resembles more of a Renaissance man than any character from Mad Men.
“The 21st-century CMO faces an explosively expanding range of options from which to branch out in new directions,” explains Dick Patton, global marketing officer at Egon Zehnder. How this evolution is accepted and understood will largely determine whether today’s CMO will succeed in shaping company success or be relegated to merely owning branding and communications.
Here’s a breakdown of the skills and traits affected by the turbulence of changes:
- No marketing team is an island: In today’s world, marketing departments must connect with other departments that also have very close relationships with their target audiences. Customer service, support, and sales can provide invaluable feedback, ideas, and insights that make marketing efforts considerably more relevant and productive.
- Relationships vs. sales: CMOs have traditionally focused on driving sales growth and creating mass-media campaigns that move customers to purchase. However, in the age of content marketing and social networks, the new marketing landscape should shift to long-term relationships and loyalty-building approaches. Customers who have a relationship with your brand are likely to remain loyal and to influence others for years to come.
- A changing landscape: Today’s CMO must embrace the tech component of their jobs (marketing automation software, content marketing, big data, etc.). Information technology is not only pervasive; it is fast becoming a primary driver of market differentiation, business growth and profitability.
- Live and breathe metrics: Market share, event ROI, value equation, retention rate, and customer lifetime value have become an essential piece of a CMO’s decision-making process. Without solid metrics on marketing campaigns, it is nearly impossible to come up with strong, repeatable marketing plans that effectively segment and target audiences, and–most importantly–generate revenue.
While some of the basics of marketing will always stay the same (i.e., satisfying customer needs, being profitable), many of the tactics, tools, and even how executives approach their jobs must evolve.
How do you see the future role of the CMO playing out? Let us know what you think and as always stay #TopRight.