When human insight meets technology we call it humanology.

 Jan Kelley

Inside the Mind of a CMO: 5 Lessons from Leading CMOs

Chantel Broten

President and CEO

Leading marketing today – in any organization – is not easy. The rapidly changing digital landscape, changes in consumer behaviour and convergence of technology, customer experience and culture have significantly increased the CMO’s scope of responsibility. CMOs are under more pressure than ever to deliver results, manage an explosion of customer channels and own customer strategy – while still running legacy tactical initiatives like ad campaigns. Leading marketing is so challenging that the average CMO tenure is just 43 months.

At the same time, research shows that when CMOs (in any sector) take on a more active role in growth initiatives, success follows in the form of higher long-term growth rates for the company.

Clearly, both expectations of and opportunities for CMOs and marketing leaders is shifting.

Here’s how the world’s leading CMOs are finding success for their companies, and how you can, too:

  1. They are driving growth and taking accountability for it.

    CEOs are looking for CMOs and marketing leaders to bring a wholistic, balanced and disciplined approach to growth. So much so that many large CPG and pharmaceutical companies are replacing the CMO role with the CGO (Chief Growth Officer) role. Josh Francia, chief growth officer at Blueshift, discusses how companies have embraced the role of the CGO and pushed this role to be cross-functional, overseeing multiple divisions and not just focusing on campaign execution. Leading CMOs are also seeking out new sources of growth – be it through reinvention of the customer experience, breakthrough innovation or entirely new revenue streams.

  2. They are building purpose-led organizations.

    Leading CMOs are building purpose-led organizations to build trust and humanity in their brand. At the Makers Conference this year, Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer Marc S. Pritchard stated that people today simply expect more from brands. He emphasized that customers want to know what brands believe in, their values, the people behind them and the actions these businesses are taking. He went on to note that nearly half of consumers make purchase decisions based on their shared beliefs with the brand.

    Studies have shown that employees who have a strong connection to their organization’s purpose are 5.3 times more likely to stay with the company. And consumers view purpose-driven brands as more caring and, as a result, are more loyal to these brands.

    To differentiate in 2019, brands must deliver a strong social point of view. We’re talking about clearly defining what an organization aspires to be and do – beyond the products and services it sells.

  3. They are taking ownership of CX.

    Research has shown 87% of organizations agree that traditional experiences are no longer enough to satisfy customers. Customer expectations are at an all-time high, and many companies have already established the foundation for providing great experiences – and have put the right people, the right processes and the right technology in place.

    It’s unmistakeably clear to anyone running a business that all roads lead to CX.

    Leading CMOs are now focusing on ‘Experience 2.0’ in order to optimize all the elements to deliver a next-level experience. At the centre of this are technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which have made hyper-personalization a reality. Hyper-personalization is an advanced, real-time customization designed to perfectly match a customer. While humans are in the driver’s seat still with respect to strategy and creative, we can now utilize machines to analyze, process and deliver personalized content on a massive scale.

  4. They are disrupting themselves.

    While a number of transformative technologies are driving broad exponential change, there are a few key technologies that CMOs are investing in to achieve the ‘holy grail’ of marketing – the ever-better customer experience. Karen Walker, CMO of Cisco, believes technologies like AI & ML will make our jobs (as marketers) much easier. She believes that we have to think about how analytics will make our customers smarter, how we can give them a better experience and how we can leverage these insights to give our loyal customers a differentiated and specialized experience.

    In addition to disrupting marketing activity, leading CMOs are transforming their teams. Marketing leaders are spending more time on data and data management than ever before. As a result, CMOs are investing in their teams to level up talent, creating new positions and highly integrated team structures. New roles such as “director of marketing data” are aimed at establishing and driving better human/machine/system connections across the company. Data integration and marketing data architects are emerging as new and vital roles in marketing organizations.

  5. They are driving organizational alignment through collaboration.

    According to Accenture, 90% of organizations view their CMO as the connective tissue between the different lines of business. Without a doubt, organizations that are winning are organizations where marketing leaders are stepping up as lead collaborators. In fact, according to a recent study by SiriusDecisions, alignment of sales, marketing and operations results in 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability.

    If marketing is to drive growth through the deployment of truly exceptional, memorable customer experiences, it must find a way to engage every part of the organization in this endeavour.

    In the battle for customers, collaboration between CMOs, CFOs and CTOs is imperative.

    Leading CMOs are embedding finance specialists in their marketing teams to help look at every dollar spent and to help optimize the mix. They are creating marketing technology teams (in the CIO organization but reporting into the CMO) to help them be more agile in tech integrations. And they are sharing real-time customer insights with the product development team.

So what? Now what?

There has never been a better time to be a marketer. As marketing, technology, CX and culture converge, we are truly undergoing a marketing renaissance. As noted above, marketing leaders that are winning are those who are stepping up as true strategic marketers and bringing a holistic and growth-focused perspective to the business.

The world needs more marketers.

An exciting opportunity stands before marketing leaders today. The opportunity is twofold: 1) to elevate marketing’s influence within the organization, and 2) most importantly, to drive more business growth.

Here are some tips to start taking your place as a strategic leader today:

  1. Give yourself permission to lead – don’t relegate yourself to the sideline of strategic conversations.
  2. Take accountability – for growth and for driving ROI.
  3. Own the customer experience – become the voice of the customer.
  4. Challenge your status quo – both externally and internally.
  5. Be the first to connect and collaborate – with customers, partners and employees.

We hope this inspires you to create change and test the boundaries of what’s possible as you drive both brand and business growth in your organization. Go get ’em! We’re here to help!

See the full Inside the Mind of a CMO series

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