The new mandate of the CMO


One of the most popular topics in our industry is to elaborate on how the role of the Chief Marketing Officer has changed, or will change in the near future. We believe the transition has been ongoing for a while, since the role has without a doubt changed a lot already. And our view is that there is actually a lot more coming for the CMO - good and challenging things. The area(s) of responsibility will continue to broaden dramatically, and in many companies the CMO is the most important person next to the CEO already. Why? Let's take a look.

In order to be successful over time, a company obviously needs to innovate constantly. But not just innovate in general, but rather based on a sweet cocktail of new customer insights and evolving industry trends. Those two areas are, in a way, the essence of what a CMO should be on top of at all times. The successful CMO also has to become (more) fluent in analytics and CRM, as well as gaining a deeper understanding for the technology behind it all. If previously the relationships with the CEO and the CFO were critical, now we have to add the CTO to the list. Many believe that CMOs and CIOs will also need to collaborate more closely to drive martech strategies and monitor technology budgets more closely in the face of increased budget responsibilities. Speaking of financials, while CMO’s continue being central to the success or failure of organisations, they sometimes struggle to explain the linkage between marketing activities and financial performance. This might help explain why, according to Deloitte, CMO’s have the shortest average tenure among all C-suite roles, as they either lose their jobs due to underperformance (perceived or actual) or become frustrated and leave on own initiative. Historically a storyteller, technological advances will help the new CMO to tell those stories not despite the lack of data, but through data.

None of the above skills and ambitions matter of course, if we fail to realize what is actually the most important focus of CMOs: our bottom lines and customers. According to a recent CMO Council CX Dynamics Report that was shared at the MarTech Conference in San Jose last month, the top three mandates of a CMO this year are:

  1. Company Growth (28% of respondents)

  2. Customer Experience (20% of respondents)

  3. Customer Centricity (19% of respondents)

This means 67% of marketing leaders think that cross-organisational growth and customer experience is the top focus for 2018. In alignment with those findings, one of Forrester’s key predictions this year is the rise of the CGO (Chief Growth Officer) to replace incompetent CMOs - a trend driven by CEOs facing a stronger need to install executives who can lead a force of change during periods of slower economic growth (some brands like Coca-Cola have already scrapped the CMO position entirely in favour of a CGO). While this may sound like a threat at first, we encourage you to embrace this development as an opportunity to further strengthen your role within your organisation and continue leveraging data as well as tech. 

We have seen many organisations lacking capacity and agility in terms of Process, Tech & People to effectively deliver on these mandates. If you want help to adapt a data driven, efficient approach that allows for modern marketing activities, which will keep you ahead of the curve, contact us today.

With all those challenges present, are you CMOs out there up to the task? Most likely many are, but few have yet received the right mandate, or what do you think? Please let us know in the comments, looking forward to your thoughts.

@ChiefMarTec presentation at MarTech West. CMOs: Growth & CX are our 2018 priorities

@ChiefMarTec presentation at MarTech West. CMOs: Growth & CX are our 2018 priorities