Big Q CMOs: Modern CMOs must market beyond digital boundaries
by MarkLives (@marklives) Is there a new C-suite executive on the horizon? Is it time to redefine the role of the CMO, possibly by agreeing that the roles of CMO and CTO are aligning and need some level of collaboration? And can this result in more-effective growth strategies for organisations? We asked a panel of key industry executives for their take. Next up is Leeya Hendricks of Oracle UK.
Once tasked with managing communications and brand, the modern CMO’s role has been expanding to include technology, data and impact (ie sales and the bottom line). Where this is not the case, anecdotal evidence suggests shorter tenures, and a loss of prominence and clout at board level.
Leeya Hendricks (@LeeyaHendricks) is a chartered marketer, global marketing strategist, a digital driver and a Women in Tech leader. She joined Oracle South Africa in 2016 as marketing director SADC, responsible for leading integrated modern marketing strategies for the business across the Southern African region, and is currently marketing director for the ECEMEA region, based at Oracle UK, responsible for driving digital strategy, demand generation and transforms portfolios to develop sustainable revenue growth.
The role of CMO has evolved to be not only a demand generator but also a revenue driver. The need to market beyond digital boundaries is now.
The changing technology landscape has reshaped the role of chief marketing officers (CMOs) to be not only a demand-generator but also a revenue-driver. The role has evolved far beyond creative mind-sets and artistic campaigns; it is now critical, complex and numbers-driven. The CMO has long wanted a seat at the table and now we have it — but this comes with expectations of accountability and a very clear ROI. The CMO is under very-real pressure from the board to deliver business results, and that pressure is set to grow as the role continues to change.
The technology landscape — specifically in marketing — has also changed drastically over the years, adding more responsibility on impacting the bottom line. CMOs will need to understand how to navigate this new world, and balance increased speed and reduced time to market with the IT needs for integration, scalability, and long-term cost challenges.
Evolving role of the CMO — then and now
The role of a CMO has evolved over the decades, from that of a creative genius in the vein of Don Draper from Mad Men to numbers-crunching almost like that of John Forbes Nash Jr. in a Brilliant Mind — and the importance of combining creativity with data analytics is a vital part of the job.
The first thing when you think of marketing a few years back was right-brain, creative, commercials and logos. Twenty years ago, it was probably 90% right-brained. But, over the past decade, there has been a shift to left-brained, analytical, math-oriented marketing, what with the emergence of technology and so many of the channels being measurable and data-driven. That’s the biggest shift that has come about in marketing.
The CMO job has evolved into both a right-brain and left-brain skillset. CMOs must balance the creative aspects of their role with an increase in the use of data-driven decisions and investment of technology required to achieve corporate objectives.
Being agile in the new frontier
A new focus on context will trump the traditional one on content and brand. Why? Context improves the relevancy required to improve precision marketing. Roles, relationships, product ownerships, interactions, time, location, intent, and even sentiment in the digital world, help with marketing in the technology world.
The development of the CMO role comes with new challenges, among them the requirement that CMOs embrace agile, human-centred design thinking. According to some recent research, “the key characteristic they need to acquire is the ability to confidently and consistently be in an agile state of thinking and open-mindedness.” This openness allows for innovation, collaboration and, ultimately, organisational change in line with the customer experience, the report reads. “The CMO must propel the brand into a future while bringing past, present and future together.”
CMO’s driving collaboration to effect change
Success may depend on the CMO’s ability to work collaboratively and ensure marketing is not isolated from other departments. There are several touchpoints along a customer’s journey that are not ‘owned’ by marketing and are vital to ensuring integration across the organisational value chain. CMOs must be tech-savvy and entrepreneurial and they need to work with a much-broader set of internal people.
We must include the CEO, the CFO and the CIO in their decision-making processes, recognising that these roles are essential in driving results, building customer experiences and in achieving internal success. Their mandate is to generate revenue and drive ecommerce. The CMO’s is to understand the commercial model and the operating structure, and ensure marketing efforts are targeted to deliver tangible ROI.
Using technology as a measurement tool
As digital transforms customer engagement, the speed of doing business and the nature of tactics have also evolved. Technology now provides richer and more-accurate tools for measurement and control, leading to a drastic change in the CMO role. It is a seat at the C-suite table, a strategic controller of organisation direction and manager of customer engagement.
CMOs need to embrace the opportunities presented by modern digital technologies so they can structure individualised customer experiences and demonstrate measurable business impact to the boardroom. The planning cycle is getting faster, and agile marketing is as much a focus as the agile business. Cloud solutions helps the CMO align the pressures around revenue and measurement by providing the tools needed to build digital marketing strategies for long-term, sustainable success.
Technology adoption — CMOs need to keep up
A survey undertaken by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found that 86% of CMOs believe that they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020, with new media continuing its steady overthrow of the old and technology-specific trends changing the way in which the business communicates with customer, stakeholder and board member.
Technology adoption by consumers is accelerating change and buying behaviour, dramatically increasing the need for more-personalised experiences and deeper customer engagement. The increasing rate of change in the market is making it complex for the marketer to keep up and stay on track. We as CMOs have to remain innovative and inventive, using limited resources or budgets while still showing true value and bottom-line benefit. The customer is in control and we have to find ways of adopting modern marketing strategies, managing change and allowing for a seamless shift from the old to the new.
CMO’s laser-focus on the customer experience
The customer experience is one of the most-important elements of marketing and has to remain the core focus for the CMO. Everyone is talking about the value of marketing and how we need to establish our position in the C-Suite and rethink our organisational structures, but we can’t forget is that we must create more-personal and -relevant customer relationships. This is the core of what we do, and we need to apply technology and insight to make this into a measurable and valuable reality.
A solid customer experience requires collaboration between many different departments, so the idea of a chief customer officer, with positional power, budget and staff, has emerged. The CCO needs to have the time, skills, and power to make decisions and the budget to bring all the disciplines together and make the organisational changes required to deliver on the brand’s promise of a superb end-to-end customer experience.
The chief customer officer— shaping the customer experience
Ultimately, it all comes down to the customer and the journey which the CMO creates. As marketers, we need to use solutions that are designed to track and measure the customer, their responses and provide data into the real-time customer interactions. Whether the title of the role is CMO or CCO, the leader would need to:
- Champion a very high level of customer-centricity
- Set the direction for a holistic customer experience
- Be accountable for all customer outcomes
The modern definition of the CMO
In the technology environment, we have to incorporate acumen and an understanding of marketing to really be the modern definition of the CMO. We have to overcome silos internally and externally, build richer engagement across an increasing number of touchpoints, and develop new skills and capabilities.
The customer must be key and CMOs now have the opportunity to step into orchestrating the whole customer experience across many different functional departments, as well as mastering many different customer engagement channels along with devices and assorted technologies, data and analytics. The need to market beyond digital boundaries is here, and marketing chiefs need to lead this transformation.
- Big Q CMOs: Marketers operate in a very-complex environment — Masego Motsogi
- Big Q CMOs: The new pressures faced by today’s CMOs — Luca Gallarelli
- Big Q CMOs: Is there any more room in the C-suite? — Wendy Bergsteedt, Yegs Ramiah & Glenn Gillis
- Big Q CMOs: The changing role of the CMO — Bandile Ndzishe
- Big Q CMOs: Changing CMO role an opportunity for agencies — Johanna McDowell
- Big Q CMOs: The CMO’s role in today’s technically advanced world — Prakash Patel
Launched in 2016, “The Big Q” is a regular column on MarkLives in which we ask key industry execs for their thoughts on relevant issues facing the ad industry. If you’d like to be part of our pool of potential panellists, please contact editor Herman Manson via email (2mark at marklives dot com) or Twitter (@marklives). Suggestions for questions are also welcomed.