The CMO and the Future of Marketing

There is a fabulous article in Marketing Management Magazine, Spring 2012 issue on what the CMO of the future will need to survive and thrive. The article, written by George S. Day and Robert Malcolm, is entitled “The CMO and the Future of Marketing” I’d like to share a few points from that article.

I think we can all agree that marketing has changed. It doesn’t matter whether you’re located in New York, Chicago or Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky – Technology has brought us new channels to utilize and a lot of uncertainties to deal with. In addition, our economy has the C-suite asking for proof that the dollars being spent are being spent wisely and are resulting in a positive ROI (return on investment) for the company.

The current average tenure for a CMO is three years. However, during that short time the focus will need to be on:

  • Vision for the future
  • Adaptive marketing capabilities
  • Hiring marketing talent
  • Better aligning marketing with sales
  • Proving a positive ROI

With technology driving change rapidly, a five-year projection is a long time. Look at what wasn’t available to marketers 5 years ago – Facebook, Twitter, ebooks and clouds were barely here, or not at all available. Where will we be in 2017? What channels will be available to us to spread our marketing message? Will we be receptive to being a pioneer in those channels? What trends will make our marketing efforts more complex? Consider:

  • Demographic changes
  • Consumers whoa re connected and empowered
  • Micro-targeting
  • Global markets
  • Distribution channels
  • Geopolitical climate
  • Government regulations

These trends and uncertainties will make markets more fragmented and therefore, more complex. The consumer will continue to be “in power” and marketing channels will continue to increase.

CMO’s will need to be able to monitor markets and develop insights for future organizational growth. At the same time they will need to find a balance between delivering results today with creating the business of tomorrow.

Many organizations are suffering from a talent crisis. Our unemployment figures may be high, but there are many positions left unfilled because those unemployed do not have the qualifications and experience needed. Marketing is no different – there is definitely a war for talent. The skills needed to “undertake data analytics, utilize knowledge-sharing technologies and deploy social media” are scarce.

As if a war for talent wasn’t enough, the CMO of the future will need to continue to fight the battle to better align sales and marketing. The traditional lines between the two are blurring, but there is still some adversarial attitudes that need to be eliminated. Silo thinking will not get the organization where it needs to go. Sales and marketing must work together and seamlessly communicate to not only land the account, but service it to enable retention and growth.

“There is no foreseeable future where marketing won’t have to demonstrate that it can earn acceptable returns on marketing investments.” This mindset may be difficult for some CMO’s, but the CMO of the future will need to not only focus on the art of marketing, but must also be able to create value for the organization – value that can be measured!

Obviously, challenging economic times has everyone focused on bottom line revenue and it’s a difficult time to “reinvent” marketing within your organization. However, before you can determine if your marketing is working, you need to have some baseline measurements to know where you are now. Continuous goal setting, and tracking to those goals, is necessary and wise and will be what you need to prove the ROI.

The job of a CMO can be viewed as glamorous, but today it’s far more than executing those much talked about commercials or campaigns. It’s about driving new business and bottom line revenues to your organization.

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
This entry was posted in Ideas In Motion, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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