It’s not easy to be today’s CMOs. With the advancement of technology and expanding engagement channels, the role of a CMO is evolving at a quicker pace than ever before. And, couple that with the fact they are increasingly more responsible for carrying the weight of the annual revenue goals. CMOs that fail to adapt and prosper will most likely be passed up by more nimble competitors in the market.
Here are a few of the most essential skills CMOs will need to ensure the success of their brand as they forge into the future:
- Leverages technology
In 2011, there were only about 150 marketing technology solutions available to businesses. In 2012, that number more than doubled, and in 2014, it nearly tripled to 1,000. Today, there are over 3,500 different tools available to marketers. It’s likely we’ll continue to see this number grow exponentially especially as today’s customers adopt more ways to engage with brands.
Moreover, as our technology-driven society shifts the marketing landscape, a successful CMO is no longer the person with the big vision to develop flashy ad campaigns. Instead, the CMO of the future must be the executive who’s conversant in technology. CMOs that understand emerging technologies -- specifically communication tools and of course marketing tech and data tools -- will be the ones that stay ahead of the curve.
- Understands the creative process
Today, design is a creative process that spans entire organizations, driven by the desire to better understand and meet consumer needs. More organizations are adopting design thinking processes in creating product and services that engage with their customers. And every interaction is a brand experience -- owned by marketing and ultimately the CMO. In order to reach consumers, modern CMOs must understand how design can influence consumer behavior and how it fits into the overall marketing brand and business strategy. When a creative vision and business strategy are seamlessly aligned, design can transform a business, giving brands the ability to maintain relevance and vitality in a time where change is constant.
- Collaborates with the entire organization
Businesses that isolate marketing from their other teams risk building a company of fragmented goals and ideas. A CMO must work with other departments in order to maintain brand consistency and fulfill revenue goals. Whether it’s working with the accounting department to set budgets, compiling and analyzing data with engineers, or working with the sales team to build up the pipeline, a successful CMO is one that can have authentic and frequent interactions across the entire enterprise. This, in turn, helps create a seamless and valuable customer experience. I recently talked with a new CMO who inherited a Marketing team who he said didn’t know the company revenue goals for the year when queried. This CMO in his exasperation was explaining to me ‘how could the team seriously claim to be working arm-in-am with sales if they truly couldn’t even recite the annual target.’
- Guides company strategy
Profit follows companies that understand and capitalize on customer behavior. Therefore, the CMO -- increasingly, being the person in an organization that holds the key to consumer behavior -- should have major influence in the company’s strategy. Furthermore, marketing in an age where driving powerful customer experiences is paramount to success is catapulting the CMO to new levels of importance.
To succeed, CMOs of the future must be as much a quant as they are a creative thinker. With the focus shifting away from push marketing to pull marketing, CMOs must demonstrate they can be predictable revenue drivers with highly optimized budgets. For this to be possible, initiatives must be backed by critical data. Establishing metrics-driven marketing creates the right focus on driving value through better customer engagement.
Whether creating a brand identity based in design or wielding powerful martech, future CMOs must be comfortable with change and be able to capitalize on it. In the ever-changing marketing landscape, CMOs must not take for granted that what's working today will work tomorrow leaving them obsolete.