Marketing Research Shows Trends and Strategies Driving CMOs
Throughout my career, one of the recurring themes from marketing practitioners has been how to put Marketing on an even footing with Finance in C-suite decision making. A new marketing research study completed in February of this year by CMG Partners
shows we may be making some headway:
"For Chief Marketing Officers, Being a Good Marketer is Just Table Stakes, Finds CMG Partners Study: New Report Which Identifies Trends and Strategies Driving CMOs in Today's Complex World
Strategic marketing consulting firm CMG Partners recently revealed the findings from its 4th annual CMO's Agenda. The study uncovered the emergence of an evolving chief marketing officer — no longer focused on the simple design and execution of marketing plans but rather empowered as "Marketing's CEO." Amid an increasingly complex backdrop of changing government regulation, corporate citizenship and a tightly interconnected world, chief marketers are now acting as the organization's marketplace authority and primary driver of growth. The CMO's Agenda is a first-hand look at the most vital issues and opportunities facing today's CMO, as told through in-depth interviews of 30 game-changing marketers whose companies represent a broad cross-section of U.S. enterprises. "The confluence of the lasting impact of the Great Recession, market volatility, technology innovation, customer empowerment and the inherent globality of today's business environment has rewritten the playbook for organizations," said Russ Lange, founding partner of CMG Partners, in a news release. "In the face of what could be a daunting mission, the CMOs we've spoken with have adapted into a super species we like to call: Marketing's CEO. No longer just the master of corporate advertising campaigns and promotions, Marketing's CEO is a true driver of corporate growth and strategy."The study identified five powerful trends affecting the Chief Marketing Officer:
The CMO/CEO relationship is Strengthening — The study reveals the steps CMOs are taking to strengthen credibility within the C-Suite and specifically with the CEO. The respondents collectively laid down a set of best-practice operating principles for any CMO: frame recommendations in terms of ROI beyond the P&L of the marketing budget, educate to show how marketing can impact growth and business performance, show where opportunities exist and how they might be captured, highlight risk, show where it exists and how it can be mitigated.
The Evolution to "Marketing's CEO" — CMOs have moved beyond the traditional job description from functional leader to strategic advisor. This shift encompasses CMOs carving out a new scope of influence for the marketing organization and in many cases taking responsibility for new business functions including operations, finance and public policy. For example, one CMO explained how marketing has become the strategic conduit for their organization and that now every single project that impacts revenue is run through marketing.
Bridging the Social Media Generation Gap — CMOs are best positioned within the organization to lead the mission to master social marketing as an essential brand building and customer loyalty tool. Yet by virtue of their age and background, few CMOs are "native speakers" when it come to social media. Respondents are increasingly meeting the challenge of adapting and learning through a process of generational "seeding:" creating internal teams that include younger, cyber-intelligent employees.
Managing the Millennials — Incorporating millennials into a seasoned group of marketing professionals brings challenges but also unquestioned value. One CMO noted how easy it is for his peers to dismiss the ideas of millennials, simply because they do not offer the crisp logic and presentation cosmetics that typically earn acceptance in a corporate environment. This CMO noted that it is often the presentation that is flawed, not the core ideas, and that the time and energy invested to "connect the dots" and develop this generation's thinking can unlock crucial learning for the successful CMO and the business organization.
Demand Creation — If CEOs have internalized one thing about marketing, it is usually the lesson Steve Jobs demonstrated: the higher purpose of marketing is to create demand; to build the perception among customers that they need what you are selling before they know it themselves. The CMO's AgendaTM revealed how lead marketers are creating a higher level of need and thus leaving their own stamp on innovation - perhaps the hallmark of the most admired companies in the world."
What do think about the results of the study? What are you seeing in your organization? Is the CMO's perspective getting more respect? Please comment!