Every decade, we see macro market trends that shift the focus and emphasis within an organization.
There are those that were committed to new product development and innovation (idea to market). Then we saw significant focus on operational efficiencies and productivity improvement (order to cash). And now, as platforms to access consumers undergo dramatic shifts, the focus is on the market-to-order space. In other words, the offices of the chief marketing officer and the chief sales officer have become more critical than ever before.
Research shows that it is becoming easier to reach large swaths of the universe through collaborative technology platforms--and the influence of technology is set to be the game changer for all industries.
Gone are the days when companies took 20 years to reach their first billion dollars in revenue. It is said that Google achieved this in eight years, Groupon in one year, while a gaming company sold almost $1 billion of its flagship product in 72 hours.
Clearly, the influence of technology in this shift is so large that CMOs can no longer rely on advisers to make their next move. It is not coincidental that, in most companies, the CMO and the CIO have similar budgets to achieve this objective.
While the transition and evolution is fast and fascinating, equally captivating is the paradigm shift in the roles of traditional analysts and influencers. We are witnessing a perceptible shift in the role of the so-called experts and traditional methods of communication. A clear example is the almost extinct role of the movie critic; today the audience is far more likely to be influenced by their timeline on Facebook. Online sentiment monitoring and management are becoming far more critical.
In an era where a brand may be launched in 24 hours, the role of technology is intertwined with the responsibilities of the CMO. And with a diverse customer base, the need for technology is not debatable. The CMO needs to determine the reach of the campaign each time and aim for a larger impact. The CMO also must consider: How do we harness the power of technology and sift through the maze of conflicting and complementary tech products to create superior engagement with customers?
Newer marketing has a ground-up approach wherein agility meshes with ability. Marketers are targeting microsegments and addressing their needs. What seems like a microcosm of the market today has a potential to be big in the future.
The CMO's function is morphing from managing communications to managing customer experience for the company. This implies mastery over several channels of customer interactions and touch points–almost entirely tech-enabled. CIOs are increasingly coming from business while CMOs are increasingly taking on a lot of technology decision-making, thanks largely to digital compulsions. The line between the CIO function and the CMO function is blurring.
The age-old designations in marketing are seeing some interesting acronyms being introduced, such as the CMTO (chief marketing technology officer) and CMT (chief marketing technologist). The truth is that despite what these roles may be called, technology is a mainstay, and, therefore, marketing and marketer are jointly heading toward interesting times.
The technology laggards may still debate and dismiss the fuss over technology, claiming that branding and marketing can exist without being digital. But in a world of hypercompetition, time is of the essence in tackling technology.