Over the last decade, the once little-known Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has arguably become a pivotal member of the C-Suite. What was once a role nestled under sales, and focused mainly on branding campaigns and press junkets, has developed into a highly pressured and company-wide profile bent on success. This presents the ultimate challenge for the new CMO – to do more, with less, and to impact the entire business.
Today’s CMO is in the middle of the action. Not only do they deal with the marketing department’s daily operational tasks, they also manage the organisation’s brand, act as spokesperson, and are ultimately responsible for enterprise growth. As a result, CMOs must be both right and left brained. This is perhaps why in 2015, the average CMO tenure was just 44 months, which was down from 48 months in 2014.
While there are many factors contributing to the success of a CMO, it is clear that there are a number of diverse challenges along the way. But what are these challenges, and how can CMOs find the footholds to succeed in this rapidly changing tech landscape?
The challenges of the modern marketer
With the expectations for marketing programs rising significantly year-on-year, CMOs are under pressure to consistently deliver impressive results. In addition, they’re charged with maximising return on marketing investment (ROMI) with minimal budgets. Adding complexity to these challenges is the constantly evolving nature of both the audience, and the channels that must be used within marketing practices.
Today’s consumers are savvy buyers, hyper-aware of being ‘sold to’. The explosive growth of social media and word-of-mouth commerce leaves many CMOs wondering how to truly understand their customer to deliver effective personalised content and messaging.
Even if campaign and strategy come easily, the numbers and analytics present an ever-elusive (and time-consuming) challenge. In the end, the segmented tools often fail to deliver unified reporting; data is fragmented and not representative of the full marketing story. CMOs must not only have access to detailed data, they must also be able to understand and logically present it to their peers.
This raises the final challenge facing today’s CMOs: doing more with less. Whether it’s lower budgets, fewer employee resources, or a decrease in time for campaign execution, CMOs must be effective and efficient in every decision they make. These factors are getting harder to meet leading to a call for a holistic, 360-degree view of all marketing activities and output.
Marketing technology: doing more, with less
Luckily, today’s CMOs are a nimble and innovative breed, unburdened by the bureaucracy and traditions that other C-Suite positions often face. Most CMOs are ready to innovate and try new ideas, technologies and solutions – and there is no shortage of marketing technology available to facilitate this journey.
Holistic marketing technologies like marketing automation platforms streamline processes and procedures with a view to ultimately, make a marketer’s life easier. For CMOs, this means improving effectiveness and efficiency at every stage of the marketing organisation. The ultimate goal is to align all team members on major initiatives, and develop a shared awareness of the impact campaigns have on the company’s bottom line.
Further to this, more sophisticated solutions, such as artificial intelligence marketing (AIM), are helping to take the guesswork out of marketing altogether. CMOs can gain a clear picture of consumer audiences, understand how they are engaging and communicating with brands, deliver personalised marketing experiences, and clearly view the results achieved across all marketing channels.
All of these technologies culminate in enhanced analytics and reporting, making it easier than ever for CMOs to track the true ROI of campaigns and relay these results to other key stakeholders.
While the emerging role of the CMO is, undoubtedly, a difficult one, it’s by no means impossible. The challenge of being more successful with fewer resources on the table is real, but it is also a challenge that inspires innovation and ingenuity. Thanks to the increasing sophistication of the technological solutions available to them, today’s CMOs can be primed and ready to thrive in the new marketing world.