B2B Beat: Are You Ready for CMO 2.0?

March 13, 2016

Technology has given consumers more power. Consumers can surf the Web to research their purchases, to consult peers on social media, and to read product reviews. This capability led Forrester Research to estimate that as much as 90 percent of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer contacts a salesperson.

The new order of things has given a large role to the CMO, who has unequalled insight into the significant part of the buyer’s journey that takes place online. With increased power comes increased responsibility, and a recent report by Deloitte says that marketing executives must embrace the concept of CMO 2.0.

The report, “CMO 2.O Takes Charge: How Chief Marketing Officers Will Succeed in the Omnichannel Era,” states, “Today business is more consumer-centric than it has ever been. … As competition increased and new and non-traditional players emerge, chief marketing officers find themselves with far bigger roles — and far greater expectations — than ever before.”

Deloitte’s statistics from the report help tell the story:

  • 89 percent of CMOs believe “marketing has changed radically over the past five years.”
  • 75 percent of CMOs say their role has become more important to their businesses.
  • 80 percent of CMOs are “feeling the pressure of increased expectations.”

So how can a marketing executive become a CMO 2.0 and rise to meet these heightened expectations? The Deloitte report concludes that CMOs should focus on three areas to ensure that their department is not a cost center but a driver of revenue.

First, CMOs must find the data-oriented talent that this era requires. “These new marketers will combine creativity with business savvy, able to work with art directors and CFOs with equal ease,” the report said. Finding and attracting this kind of talent is not always easy. “With little slack in the economy and relatively low unemployment, the competition for the data analysts, data scientists, and unconventional thinkers CMOs need will be intense,” the report said.

Next, CMOs must master analytics to gain a thorough understanding of how their marketing is affecting revenue and if data points to new opportunities. Ultimately, the report found that “Data analytics allow CMOs to identify connections between marketing activity, customer behavior and sales with more clarity and accuracy than ever before.” In the end, the CMO, the report urged, must “prove the real measurable value and impact of marketing and, in turn, justifying growing budgets which now include large investments in technology.”  

And finally, with the right people and right analytics tools and mindset in place, CMOs will need to ensure that the optimal customer experience occurs wherever the brand touches consumers and prospects: in ad messages, via customer service on the phone, during face-to-face contact with employees, on the website, via email. The CMO must seize responsibility for the customer experience from start to finish, the report urges. “Decisions elsewhere in the organization, from distribution to accounts receivable, can have a significant impact on customer perceptions and an organization’s brand. Inevitably, the CMO will take the brunt of any reputational hit that results,” the report concluded. 

To read more of Deloitte’s take on the CMO’s increasingly critical organizational role, download “CMO 2.0 Takes Charge.”

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