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Evolving Role of CMOs in the Digital Age

CMOs

The continued focus on digital communication has meant that traditional marketing has undergone a paradigm shift whereby brand connect has moved significantly from a carpet-bombing approach to a more regulated and targeted one. The onset of the digital age has meant that the chief marketing officers have taken centre stage in enterprises, shifting from merely guiding business practices to the more critical role of involving in business strategy itself.

If ever there was any doubt over the growing role of the CMO, a recent market research report suggests that things could just get bigger for them. The P&S Intelligence report says India’s digital transformation market would touch $710.0 billion by 2024, registering a CAGR of 74.7%. If we look at the global numbers, the market is about cross more than US$ 462 billion by 2024 and will grow at a CAGR of more than 18.5%.

So, there’s no need for a second thought where the marketing dollars are headed for. The successful CMOs of the future would be those that have embraced digital transformation and adapted their marketing strategies and goals accordingly. Because, organizations are left with no option but to adapt to the growing influence of web users and CMOs simply cannot stay isolated from this trend.

The Role of CMOs

In a research paper, Dentsu Aegis Network suggests that the chief marketing officers (CMOs) have the key responsibility of introducing their companies with the necessary changes required for the digital transformation.

It says, eight out of ten CMOs believe the shift to digital means they must transform, which will not come just by optimizing the business but that marketing must hold the baton for innovation in the future. However, having said that, transformation and innovation still continue to be ranked the least important roles for the marketing function.

Another research shows that a CMO holds 34% of the time in giving direction to a company’s digital transformation, which is more than other C-suite positions. Hence, the role of CMOs is extremely crucial when we talk about the journey of embracing digital transformation.

Managing CMO Expectations

The future of enterprises depends heavily on their ability to evolve alongside the larger social developments that play a key role in customer choices. The case of the airline industry is a prime example. In 2019 itself, as many as 19 aviation companies getting grounded, the latest being Thomas Cook which has left many in Britain stranded overseas.

Understanding the swings and roundabouts of the economy and the industry trends, there is none better than a CMO who can come to the table with data and numbers. If the customer base is to be the driving force of a digital transformation, the CMO could well be the one driving it. While sales, customer service and management are the key responsibilities of CMOs, creating space for digital transformation will also become a pre-requisite in order to drive the former two.

Since technologies are entering into every aspect of an organization and the customer experience is undergoing digital transformation, if enterprises want to attract and retain the customers, CMOs need to occupy the co-pilot’s seat and be part of every flight.

The importance of CMOs cannot be less than the others at that level if enterprises seek to ride the digital wave to success. If businesses want to become more agile and resilient in this new age technology, a shift needs to come in the corporate thinking.

While there has to be a shift of focus from selling to engagement and relationship building with the customers, CMOs will have to be considered as equal partners in championing and leading the digital transformation.

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