The future CMO

A key principle of marketing has long held that better knowledge of a customer helps better tailoring of products and services to a given segment or individual. With the volume, variety and velocity of contextual information all increasing and set to do so further, knowledge of consumers is entering a new phase.


Whilst close to half of CMO’s acknowledge that digital capabilities have significantly changed their customers’ behaviour, only 12% feel sufficiently prepared for the consequences of digitally enabled customers[i]. Technology, analytics, consumer relationships, growth and even organisational renewal are all issues intertwined with the emerging CMO role. The extent of the role change could be significant, with 78% of leaders agreeing it will change fundamentally in the next five years[ii].

The challenge to change will ostensibly feature a new skill set, centred around analytical capabilities, but also augmented with the requisite soft skills needed to collaborate across business units and demonstrate the value of marketing as a driver of organisational revenue. Perhaps within a few years, the notion of marketing as a cost centre will finally be proven as dated.

However, the framework in which CMOs operate must also be conducive to broader change. Marketing functions that operate in silos are highly likely to fall behind those that integrate with wider business units and processes. Here, and elsewhere, CMOs are unlikely to be able to enact change with support from other executives. Given support by other stakeholders such as CIOs and HR executives, and by focussing on talent, analytics and customer experience, CMOs can begin to craft a more conducive framework to operate within. It should be acknowledged that cultural change is never easy to enact, and will require supportive measures that codify behaviour change – whether it be through different processes, incentives or new talent in key positions.

New models underpinned by new company wide collaboration must be built as traditional marketing, I.T and organisational models expire. Central to this must be the idea that data should be viewed as an enterprise asset rather than a departmental asset. This broader view of data and of the organisation can help the CMO and CIO develop and implement insights that deliver greater value to the business and form a key building block of the ‘Marketing 2.0,’ organisation.




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