Once upon a time—and not too terribly long ago—the chief marketing officer was the guardian of the brand and the keeper of the brand identity and creative strategy. They were the lead communicator. Today’s CMO is still held to those roles, but they’ve also been handed a growing responsibility to be the deliverer of business growth and provider of shareholder value. This is especially true in categories that are evolving rapidly or seeing disruptive innovation.

 

Here are a few factors that are changing the ways CMOs have to do their jobs.

Value means value.

It’s no longer enough to focus on advertising, brand management and market research—vague brand value statements won’t cut it when executives are demanding real business accountability. Marketing departments are now expected to be profit centers, and CMOs are being held responsible for revenue growth and identifying opportunities for new revenue streams.

Change is constant.

Customers are enjoying more choice than ever and more opportunities to be influencers to a wide audience. CMOs have to be quick, agile and efficient to keep up—often while remaining tied to legacy operations and processes that weren’t built with agility in mind. It’s no wonder that, as recent studies have shown, CMOs have the shortest tenures in the C-suite—they’re constantly being asked run a marketing marathon at a sprint pace.

CX is everything.

More than ever before, consumers in all areas expect the responsiveness and personalized service they’ve grown accustomed to from industries like banking and retail. They want a consistent customer experience across all channels—and there are a lot of channels. CMOs have to speak the language of earned and paid social media, marketer- and user-generated content and strategies for digital platforms that haven’t even been invented yet to meet customers where they are.

Data is key.

From social media analytics to IoT-connected devices to healthcare decisions based on Yelp reviews, data flow is constant and potentially overwhelming. It’s crucial for guiding communication efforts and evaluating and adjusting campaigns midstream, but that only works if you know how to read it. CMOs are held responsible for implementing the right tools to collect that data and turn it into intelligence, and for backing up their choices with meaningful metrics. A good CRM, a good analytics dashboard and a good understanding of the digital media landscape have all become basic requirements for the job.

 

As the role of the CMO changes—reaching far beyond traditional marketing to include technology, analytics, growth and, above all, measurable impact—the relationship with an ad agency partner must change, too. Solid strategy and quality creative remain essential, but a CMO should be able to rely on their agency to know the industry, know the market and back it all up with analytics to show value in this ever-evolving business environment. That’s why blr | further has aligned our resources to help today’s CMO connect the dots of data, technology and storytelling to help you anticipate tomorrow and take your business further.

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