A Spotlight on Technology and the CMO of the Future
20th June 2017 Will Humphries
Few organisational functions have progressed further with the advances in technology than marketing. And because of that, the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has evolved significantly and will continue to do so over the next several years.
However, Forrester (PDF link) has stated in their 2017 Predictions report, that:
“CEOs will exit 30% of their CMOs for not mustering the blended skill set of design and analytics”
When it comes to marketing, we are entering a brave new world. Nowadays, senior marketers must have a balance of left-brain and right-brain skills.
- The right side – the creative side – designs experiences to engage customers.
- The left side – the analytical side – understands technology and data analytics to ensure the delivery of personalised, engaging and relevant experiences.
The following is a look at the influence of technology on the role of a CMO, with insights on what this important executive position may look like.
More Data and Analytics
Few factors have influenced marketing more in the last 10 to 20 years than the evolution of the database. In the current big data era, companies can gather massive volumes of information on prospects, behaviours, and marketing activities.
However, it’s not the amount of data that you have that is important; it’s how you use this data that matters. And effective use of this data leads to better targeting, increased promotional efficiency, and higher return on investment.
As companies continue to invest in new technologies, the impact of data will continue to grow.
These include areas such as
- artificial intelligence,
- machine learning,
- augmented and virtual reality,
- the internet of things, and
- cloud computing
CMOs of the future must recognise and accept the critical nature of data and support the development of an infrastructure that enables collection and utilisation. CMOs must also understand, to a greater extent, the technical nature of data-driven marketing to build effective strategies and to hire the right people.
Work Process Efficiency
Many CMOs are now responsible for the customer experience.
61 percent of them according to another Forrester report from 2016: “The Evolved CMO In 2016 – CMOs Broaden Their Influence And Leadership“.
Advanced technology reliance means the CMO needs the ability to adapt work processes and communicate changes with teams quickly. Particularly with the CIO and the Head of Sales.
And because of data integration, workflows need to be optimised to promote efficiency, excellent results, and best practices. However, ongoing reviews of these activities create further opportunities for improvements, adaptability, and problem resolution.
Furthermore, agile work teams have become the new norm in high-efficiency organisations. Therefore, the CMO must be comfortable with change and create a culture where employees are open to change and excited to identify better ways of working.
However, this is not only related to deriving the most value from sales.
Workforce optimisation experts Genesys (PDF link) says that, for a 100-FTE operation, a 10% increase in workforce efficiency, equates to 750K annual recurring savings from an operational perspective.
The impact of efficiencies will be seen right across the organisation.
Historically, the marketing function has centred on carrying out research and communication activities within an organisation. As time goes on, data and a forward-looking perspective have given rise to marketing as an innovative function.
And forward-thinking organisations no longer view marketing as a cost centre but a sales enabler. The role of the CMO has become more aligned with strategic planning and company vision, and it is going to escalate in this way within more organisations.
Company leaders rely on the CMO to share data-driven insights about the right business processes, technological advances, lead generation optimisation, solution development, and even hiring strategies.
Therefore, today’s CMO needs to be driving ideas and innovation and transposing those ideas across the organisation.
As these three critical examples indicate, technology has had a strong influence on the evolving CMO role. Therefore, the CMO of the future needs to be comfortable with technology, cultural awareness to optimise its usage, adaptability, and innovative leadership.
Most importantly, they should be leading the conversation in the boardroom because they have their fingers on the pulse of the single most powerful asset the company has – its customers.
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