CMOs Are Becoming Change Agents
As the challenges faced by marketers continue to rise, so do their responsibilities.
A recent study by the Chief Marketing Officer Council, “Renovate to Innovate: Building Performance-Driven Marketing Organizations,” has found that increasingly the CMO role has gone beyond brand agents and communicators to being change agents.
The study identified three essential ingredients for early success ranging from CEO mandate and support, a tightly coupled working relationship with peers in the C-suite, and early evidence of marketing’s expanded role and contribution in driving business value.
According to the report, marketing groups must now fill the pipeline with predisposed prospects, further customer insight and interaction through social media channels, and be accountable for demand generation and market differentiation with integrated, multi-channel campaigns. In addition, marketers must expand their competencies and knowledge in data integration and insight gathering, predictive analytics, behavior-driven marketing, precision promotion, online and mobile engagement, lead cultivation and provisioning, financial forecasting and mix modeling.
The 50-page report, produced by the CMO Council and sponsored by Egon Zehnder International, also advocated the need for chief marketing executives to revitalize marketing group cultures and mindsets.
"Narrowly focused, risk-averse managers in isolated silos of tactical execution (research, PR, advertising, events, creative services, interactive, direct response) must be integrated into cohesive, cross-functional campaign teams. They have to be strategically aligned with corporate goals and business objectives and be held accountable for specific deliverables and deadlines," the report states.
"In essence, a new CMO has to become a super-bonding agent helping disparate elements in the organization come together, stick together and work together in a cohesive way," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. "This enables all functions, departments and divisions be more unified and focused on a common business agenda, brand ethos and collective sense of urgency to better understand, activate and address the market."
Based on the research, the CMO Council has a 10-step plan for CMO entry into a leadership role.
- Understand the company's culture, mindset, customer and competitive conditions.
- Establish alignments and listening relationships with CEO, peers and stakeholders
- Identify the marketing detractors, influencers, and champions.
- Audit and assess internal competencies, processes, capabilities and perceptions.
- Determine leaders and laggards.
- Map marketing strategy and model organizational change around plans and deliverables.
- Unify, enthuse, mobilize and strategically focus marketing assets.
- Initiate upgrade and replacement process in key competency areas.
- Show results early and often with business-building, lead-generating marketing projects.
- Provide metrics-driven report and spend plan to management on a quarterly basis.
"The seismic changes now transforming marketing have made the role of CMO more demanding than ever," said Dick Patton, head of the Global CMO practice at Egon Zehnder International. "New media, new channels, and new expectations from boards and CEOs have converged to require CMOs to constantly improve their performance and broaden their scope. Today's good CMO must seek to become tomorrow's great CMO."