Chief Marketing Officer News (CMO)
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Know Your Role: The Ever-Changing Chief Marketing Officer Challenges and Trends

Eveline Smet

Founder & Growth Strategist

In recent years digitization has expanded the definition of marketing. With user-generated media and the emergence and growth of social influencers, marketers have had to reinvent themselves and adapt to these new and dynamic marketing factions.

It comes as no surprise then that the role of the Chief Marketing Officer has become one of the most important functions in companies today. It now takes on a more abstract approach to marketing than traditional methods did in the past.

There’s a lot more competition today than there was before. This means that CMOs now have to learn to think outside the box. They have to come up with creative ways of meeting the expectations of the modern consumer. 

They’re tasked with crafting strategies to engage with customers in the digital sphere. This allows them to grow their brand and stay current with the evolving market. This article takes an in-depth look at the ever-changing CMO job description. What does the future hold for this position? Read on.

1. The Customer-Centricity Champion

The CMO is best placed to champion the importance of a holistic, customer experience. But, what is a CMO? Think of them as design-thinkers. They’ve to use an empathetic approach to identifying what the customer perspective is.

CMOs and their teams must test their marketing strategies nonstop. This ensures that they meet the want of customers. A marketing-driven customer approach means that they ask, “What do our customers want?” as opposed to the traditional, “How do we market our product.”

By flipping this narrative, Chief Marketers focus on building customer relationships through crafting informative, entertaining and relevant content experiences. Their marketing duties extend to the entire customer lifecycle. Using audience insights, they learn the emotional part of brand storytelling which gives them a leg up over their competitors.

2. The Chief Cross-Functional Collaborator

In today’s organizational setup, marketing is no longer an isolated function. It plugs into product development, sales and lots of other customer-oriented service arms.

According to key findings in IBM’s report on the Total Economic Impact of Design Thinking Practice, there is a direct undeniable link between cross-functional collaboration and reducing costs in streamlining processes. This goes to show that, in order for CMOs to manage customer experience, they need to work in close quarters with these other functions.

It is impossible to expect CMOs to be the total experience owners in any large organization. What would the point be of getting a new customer, only to then lose them because of a disappointing product? It would amount to a zero-sum game.

What’s more, with the digital realm being the new frontier for customer engagement, the CMO marketing role has expanded to include the entire end-to-end experience. This might mean changing products, pricing or even packaging. 

As chief change agents, they have a strong voice to render in the formulation of company policies. The best approach most CMOs use is placing customer experience representatives in every section of the business. This ensures that they have a real-time view of the customer moment-to-moment at scale.

3. The Creativity Advocate

The CMO role needs to be data-driven. Understanding consumer behavior forms only one part of the bigger picture. Data plays an important role in marketing.

But, creativity will always remain the backbone of great marketing. CMOs must be able to push the boundaries of creative thinking and innovation. Breaking these barriers means exploring new channels and forging new partnerships.

It also promotes a culture of iterative testing. Its primary goal is to improve the customer’s experience. The modern-day CMO needs to be agile and have a growth-oriented mindset.

This helps to cultivate lasting partnerships with their fellow executives and to understand what they need. That way they can offer their creativity to support them. In the same breath, CMOs also have to communicate what they need from them and focus on those needs.

4. The CMO as a Transparency Activist

Today’s customers demand a higher level of transparency from companies than ever before. The same applies to employees of the organization as well.

Corporations can no longer afford to hide behind the guise of the corporate veil. Trust is the foundation of transparency and this operates on 2 critical levels. First, can organizations trust their marketing functions to spend their operating budgets efficiently?

13% of CMOs rank securing a marketing budget as one of the most challenging tasks they face. So, it becomes quite clear why they need to provide ROI for their marketing activities. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the numbers.

Second, can the consumer trust that the advertisements they see are authentic? There’s no faster way to lose a customer than over-promising and under-delivering.

The CMO becomes a powerful driving force in pushing for transparency at every level. This is the one attribute in leadership whose payoff can is quantifiable.

5. The Master of Deep Audience Insights

Every marketer’s strategy centers on market research and focus groups. These methods provide a bird’s eye view of their audience. But, it leaves them with huge amounts of unstructured data that can provide even greater insight into their customer base.

To make sense out of it, CMOs need to invest in AI technology to comb through all this untapped information. They get an in-depth insight into both their existing and potential customer base.

They can then tailor a customer experience design that caters to every segment of the company’s audience. Any CMO who wants their organization to compete with other players on a global scale cannot afford to overlook the central role that data science plays in achieving industry dominance.

6. The Spearhead of Delivering Personalized Customer Experiences

Today’s consumer has grown to expect highly-personalized experiences from brands. These, need to be non-linear so that customers feel like the product is speaking directly to them.

CMOs, have to then consider what these experiences look like. That way, they can spearhead their design and construction to deliver highly-individual relationships at scale.

7. The Ultimate Influencer

Maintaining a unified message across all the brands is one of the most challenging CMO tasks. This becomes even more clear when dealing with a huge and dispersed team that’s putting out content for different platforms.

It becomes a lot harder for the CMO to get a grip on this when dealing with company functions that don’t ladder up to them. If they’re not careful it could all spiral out of control. Everyone could end up with their own interpretation of what the brand message is.

Mitigating this requires the CMO to extend their influence to other departments by articulating an all-encompassing brand story that speaks to all aspects of the organization’s functions. It should influence the way product development works, the way customer service operates and even in seemingly unrelated functions like talent recruitment.

CMOs must develop horizontal relationships within the company and transform these departments into champions of the larger brand story. This creates well-defined structures that provide company-wide visibility into brand touchpoints.

8. The Purpose Promoter

Today, companies are taking a more liberal stance on social issues that get their audiences connected to and excited about their brand. Branding and purpose are now more intertwined than ever before. 

The need for transparency has mounted increased pressure for companies to weigh-in on trending and sometimes controversial social debates. CMOs need to embrace this style of marketing and find a balanced way of navigating these issues while setting mainstream media ablaze to reinvigorate their brands.

How Does Today’s Chief Marketing Officer Adapt to Their Evolving Role

To shape the narrative that defines corporate strategy, the CMO has the opportunity to break free from the confines of the product-price-place-promotion structures. They can push the needs of the customer across all brand touchpoints.

They also redefine what customer experiences mean in today’s world. Some key considerations for this ever-changing role include:

Learning to Cut Through the Noise

The modern era consumer is constantly bombarded with content and information. To make matters, worse, their attention span is now shorter than it’s ever been. How then can brands cut through the noise and grab their attention? 

CMOs have to use decisive strategies targeted at reaching and engaging with their customer. One sure way to do this is to drive a customer-oriented agenda.

This involves understanding their customer’s needs in terms of: How are their expectations evolving?

How can they establish trust between the brand and the customer? A great starting point would be to meet most if not all their expectations and make good on all promises made.

Reaching Their Customers When It Matters the Most

Consumers support brands that they feel they can relate to. CMOs, need to craft personal and authentic narratives that reflect the brand values on all fronts.

Technology plays a key role in marketing. It provides data that companies can use to tell a cohesive brand story. They have to make sure it’s through the right channels and targeted at the right individuals.

This positions their companies as a brand that endears itself to consumers, thus, earning their trust. They have to find the best way to deliver a message that wins the hearts and minds of their target consumers. This is often by providing unique, immersive and memorable experiences that set them apart from the competition.

Focusing on the Customer Journey

CMOs have become accountable for owning the customer journey through the brand. This journey begins from the customer’s first point of contact, all the way to the moment they make their first buy.

One way to track this path is by mapping out the process. This gives a visual interpretation of what the consumer goes through to get what they need. It provides real-time information of what motivates them, their pain points and areas the company can improve on.

Enforcing Data Privacy and Security Regulations

CMOs need to consider their approach to their customer’s privacy. Companies need to communicate to their customers what security and privacy policies they have in place.

They also need to disclose which laws and regulations they follow and the kind of data they use. This safeguards its customers’ rights.

Being forthcoming about this nurtures relationships with customers and enhances customer engagement. On the flip side, it means that companies have to contend with receiving fewer data.

This does not pose a major problem parse. All they have to do is leverage digital technology in the form of AI and machine learning to maximize performance.

Enhancing Personalization

Do you want to connect with your customer and reach your audience in a compelling way? Personalization is the key to doing so. Research reveals that 98% of marketers agree that personalization advances customer relationships.

CMOs, need to know how to deliver a seamless and personalized experience to their customers on all available platforms. These include social media posts, emails, and PPC Ads to increase website traffic. Having the right technology and the right team with the right mix of skills goes a long way in bringing personalization to fruition.

The CMO of the Future

Marketing duties today aren’t what they used to be. For this reason, CMOs need to adapt to the changing marketing landscape if their brands.

This is if they hope to make any headway in competing on a global scale. There’s no better time than the present for the Chief Marketing Officer to define their place at the executive table and deliver excellence at every turn.

Is your marketing plan water-tight? You might want to check out how data can improve your marketing strategy.

Questions? Comments? Ideas! We’d love to hear from you! do not hesitate to drop us a note 😊

Eveline Smet

Founder & Growth Strategist

Eveline is our founder and the one who eats strategy for breakfast. She is in charge of budgets, KPI’s and growth plans. During her high school years, Eveline was wearing baggy pants and listening to 2PAC & Biggy. We have proof. Just ask. If you ever catch her looking off into the distance, it’s either because she wants to order sushi or she’s hungry thinking of ways to increase your profit. She’s also the biggest victim of marketing. But the biggest office sweetheart.

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