When someone thinks about the C-Suite, they’ll first consider the CEO, and then the CFO, or maybe the COO. While it may not be as top-of-mind as these titles, the role of Chief Marketing Officer is a steadily growing position within organizations both large and small.
In fact, according to some industry insiders, this is a role that has just sprung up with fervor within the last decade or so. The role of the CMO, however, is one of the most changing and varied positions in the C-Suite, which means there is plenty of pressure to succeed.
The CMO’s Role
A decade ago, the CMO’s role was nestled under sales, and focused mainly on branding campaigns and press junkets. The modern CMO couldn’t be more different; today they are right in the middle of the action. Marketing is such an important and pivotal part of modern B2C companies that CMOs are often found at the forefront, building company-wide strategies and initiatives.
Not only does today’s CMO deal with the marketing department’s daily operational tasks, they also manage the organization’s brand, act as spokesperson, and are ultimately responsible for enterprise growth. This ‘right/left’ brain mentality is a must for today’s CMOs, which is why not only high-performing marketer will find success in the role.
Maybe it’s these competing priorities that are to blame for the fact that, in 2015, the average CMO tenure was just 44 months, which was actually down from the 48-month average in 2014. While there are surely many factors contributing to this reality, it is clear that CMOs face a unique and diverse set of challenges.
What are these challenges, and how can CMOs find the footholds to succeed in this rapidly changing tech landscape?
The Modern Marketer’s Challenges
With the expectations for marketing programs rising significantly year-on-year, CMOs are under pressure to deliver impressive results, consistently. They’re charged with the task of maximizing ROMI with minimal budgets. Adding complexity to this challenge is the constantly evolving nature of both the audience, and the channels that must be used to engage them.
Today’s consumers are savvy buyers, hyper-aware of being ‘sold to’. The explosive growth of social media and word-of-mouth commerce has resulted in marketing teams throwing ideas at the wall, just hoping something will stick. CMOs are left wondering how to truly understand their customer audiences in order to deliver effective personalized content and messaging.
Even if campaign and strategy come easily, the numbers and analytics can elude a CMO. With so many tools, solutions, and tracking methods available today, the seemingly simple act of pulling analytical data or metrics following a campaign can be an incredibly 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 present it logically to other members of the executive team, a Board of Directors, or even a VC firm.
This raises the final challenge facing today’s CMOs: doing more with less. Whether it’s less money, fewer employee resources, or a decrease in time for campaign execution, CMOs must be effective and efficient in every decision they make. How is this possible, however, without a holistic, 360-degree view of all marketing activities and output? How can a CMO make high-level decisions if they’re bogged down at the operational level? These are just a few of the questions plaguing the modern CMO.
Finding the Answers in Marketing Technology
Luckily, today’s CMOs are a nimble and innovative breed, unburdened by the bureaucracy and traditions with which other C-Suite positions can be bogged down. Most CMOs are ready to innovate and try new ideas, technologies, and solutions, and there is no shortage of marketing technology available to ease this journey.
Holistic marketing technologies like marketing automation platforms are inherently designed to make a marketer’s life easier, by streamlining processes and procedures. For CMOs, this means improving effectiveness and efficiency at every single stage of the marketing organization. The ultimate goal is alignment of all team members on major initiatives, and a shared awareness of the impact campaigns have on the company’s bottom line.
More sophisticated solutions, such as artificial intelligence marketing (AIM), are helping to take the guesswork out of marketing all together. CMOs can gain a clear picture of consumer audiences, understand how they are engaging and communicating with brands, deliver personalized 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. Today’s CMOs can be primed and ready to thrive in the new marketing world, thanks to the increasing sophistication of the technological solutions available to them.
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