CMOs Are More Than Mere Strategists

by Preeti S    Oct 06, 2014



Digital disruption has redefined roles and changed many responsibilities— all centered around customers. Digitally enabled processes have shifted the way businesses are conducted, thereby compelling new marketing strategies.

 As innovation is the key to attract more customers, organizations are increasingly expecting CMOs to play a vital role in developing a data-driven plans to stay ahead of the curve.

A McKinsey’s survey showed that companies that use customer analytics extensively are more than twice as likely to generate above-average profits against those who don’t.

The multi-channel digital experience has changed the way customers get their data. The internet penetration has given customers the anywhere-anytime information. Understanding customer behaviour is an essential part of marketing. How quickly businesses adapt to digital needs is what determines the efficiency of a CMO.

The changing technology landscape has altered the way budgets are planned. It is understandable that digital explosion has given IT a larger share in companies’ budget. That is endorsed by a Gartner study which says that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.

It is imperative for a CMO to analyze customer needs and then align it with the organization’s goals, which also means financial gains. 

Simply put, they are expected to drive profits and ensure good margins, apart from planning customer-friendly measures.

In one of his write-ups, world’s leading Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith says: “The CMO needs to be a businessperson first, and a marketer second.”

Explaining success metrics, he wrote that many CMOs come from a project management or creative background, but the key is for marketers to understand and speak the quantitative and financial language of business.

As expectations grow, drawing customer-friendly strategies based on analytics isn’t an easy job as it requires constant innovation and differentiation. The new-age marketers need to leverage customer insights to automate tasks and use technology as a competitive advantage.

Michael Schinelli, Chief Marketing Officer at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, says: “While ads are generally thought of simply as vehicles of brand awareness and offers, they have in fact become sensors. Today’s CMOs and Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) need to have a balanced analytical, creative and strategic mindset and the vision to design  this constellation of sensors to generate returns in an increasingly technological future.”

The CMO plays an extensive role in not just designing a marketing roadmap, but he also shoulders the responsibility of building brand image. Not just that, CMOs must address several other areas as well, says McKinsey. That includes leading change, managing complexity, and building new marketing capabilities.


Tags: CMO, CXO, CIO, CFO, McKinsey