Challenging Times Ahead For CMOs

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 12, 2014

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“Any company that thinks it can do marketing without technology is delusional” claim IDC researchers in its recent FutureScape, “CMO Advisory 2015 Predictions,” and this puts Chief Marketing Officer (CMOs) into the most challenging situation than ever.

Like every year, for 2015 and beyond, IDC offers a glimpse of what the future may hold for the Chief Marketing Officers of technology firms. 

To begin with, IDC points out that the CMO job is now appreciated by CEOs as being more important than ever before. Today’s CMO needs to be able to attribute campaign results to revenue performance, and to justify budget for the marketing technology they now need to do their job. 

In the next one year, it says, one in three marketing organizations will deliver content targeted toward all stages of the buyers’ journey. In 2016, 25 percent of marketing organizations will solve critical skill gaps by deploying centers of excellence.

By 2017, 70 percent of B2B mobile customer apps will fail to return on their investments because they lack sufficient customer value-add and thereafter one in four CMOs will be replaced every year through 2018.

To sum up this situation aptly, “CMOs must herd cats, juggle chain saws, and climb mountains,” says Gerry Murray, research manager with IDC’s CMO Advisory. “It is a challenging, exciting, yet precarious position requiring new skills and great focus on business performance.

According to the researchers, the report hints a skill gap in the CMO turnover partially owing to a disparity between CEO expectations and the hiring of the CMO to execute them. In several cases, many CMOs don’t actually come from marketing backgrounds. Instead they come from engineering, sales or product management, and other domain creating a clear mismatch.

IDC recommends that to reduce the gap, CEOs need a deeper understanding of the job role of the CMO, who also must clearly understand the overall business context of their role.

IDC researchers also see a shortage of technical and operational skill sets in marketing. In the increasingly digital world, the new ally for the CMO is the CIO.  Together they will craft roadmaps of marketing technology deployments designed to functionally and operationally integrate across the organization.  This vision quest will bring with it the identification of critical skill gaps, which IDC points out can be solved through the creation of centers of excellence, led internally by operational leaders and influencers.  The increasing need to drive pipeline conversion rates will require investments in sales enablement, data, and content. 

Another issue driving IDC’s decision imperatives deals with line of business buyers — “In 2015, only one in five companies will retool to reach LOB buyers and outperform those selling exclusively to IT,” notes IDC researchers stating that cloud-oriented purchases could make up as much as 90 percent of future IT industry growth and organizations should ignore this trend at their own peril.

The responsibility will fall on the CMO reach out to understand the business, the emerging sales processes, and make the necessary connections to pull everything together.

To sum up CMOs challenges and the way out therefore IDC recommends that CMOs need to identify and track customer journey, be agile and over-invest in marketing technology and set the marketing organization and talent base down a new path in order to succeed.