The 3 Most Pressing Questions For Top CMOs

June 25, 2018

Influential CMOs

The World’s Most Influential CMOs 2018 – a new report by Forbes, Sprinklr, and LinkedIn – is more than a list of talented, innovative marketers: It’s a revealing snapshot of the tectonic shifts marketers face today and a portrait of the most effective strategies for addressing them.

This year’s report shows how forward-thinking marketers are grappling with these three profoundly intertwined questions.

1. How Has the Relationship Between Brands and Customers Changed?

Leading CMOs know that it’s increasingly what customers say (not what the company says) that defines a brand’s reputation. As Michelle Peluso, CMO of IBM, noted last year, “Social has completely flattened the relationship and empowered customers in previously unimaginable ways.” CMOs recognize this and are using these new channels to reimagine their marketing strategies and become more customer-centric.

That’s why LEGO CMO Julia Goldin launched LEGO Life, an award-winning social network for kids to share their creations. Built in 2017, the platform has already been used by 6 million children from 26 countries. She’s a testament to how influential CMOs can lead digital transformation with a customer-first mindset.

2. How Can Brands Offer the Very Best Customer Experience?

Customer experience is now a core part of the CMO role, and no wonder: According to Gartner, 89% of companies now compete primarily on customer experience. “The CMO plays a critical role in shaping the customer experience because it is part of the brand-building process,” Verizon’s Diego Scotti told Forbes last year. “Getting the brand and customer experience right is truly a team effort across the board.”

For example, Samsung CMO Marc Mathieu partnered with Arianna Huffington to launch THRIVE, an app that invited smartphone users to make thoughtful choices about when to go online. By putting their phone in THRIVE mode, Samsung Galaxy users can shut out notifications and distractions for a specified number of minutes or hours; anyone who reaches out during that time is notified when the user will be back online.

It may seem counterintuitive to encourage people use your product less. But Mathieu is among an elite class of marketers who understand that building better customer experiences is paramount.

3. How Can Brands Become More Human and Approachable?

Customer expectations have changed. Three billion people are now online, connected like never before, sharing their likes and dislikes in real time. Brands need to function at that same speed, making one-to-one human connections – and doing it on a massive scale. Top CMOs have responded to that challenge by embracing customer care, leading values-driven campaigns, and developing their own distinctive voices.

From SAP’s Alicia Tillman partnering with UN Women to encourage female tech entrepreneurs to Tom Herbst championing accessible outdoor spaces at The North Face, CMOs aren’t afraid to raise their voice or take a stand – because that’s how they connect and build trust with their customers.

Finding the Answers for Your Brand

Being aware of these issues is the first step to becoming an influential CMO. Knowing the answers is the tough part.

As outlined in the report, top CMOs are willing to face these challenges head-on and adapt to inevitable changes in the marketing landscape. They’re successful not because they play it safe, but because they’re willing to humanize themselves and put the customer at the center of all of their strategies.

Still, these are just a few examples of how influential CMOs are changing the game. Download the report today for more insights from today’s most successful marketing leaders. Here's the list of the top 50:

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First published on the Global Marketing Solutions Blog.

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