What keeps CMOs up a night? Today’s marketing leaders all point to familiar challenges, as well as a few that are new to our digital age.
CMG Partners’ new e-book, “Conquering Top CMO Challenges,” is based on our analysis of dozens of published CMO surveys. It details the increasing expectations on CMOs and how they can transform their marketing organizations to meet those new challenges. We also refer to agile marketing, adapted from agile software methods, as an “operating system” for marketing (albeit a very human operating system). The system helps marketing organizations find their North Star and stay true to its direction—even in the ever-shifting tide of today’s marketplace.
Clearly, achieving better performance isn’t about doing what you and your team are already doing better. Marketers need to radically change the way they operate to drive marked performance improvement. They must adopt a more data-driven, disciplined approach to marketing operations that is centered on a test-and-learn culture, enabling companies to iterate and have the flexibility to manage change. You have to operate differently to drive a different result.
The top five challenges cited by CMOs can all be addressed by adopting Agile for Marketing (A4M), a mind-set and methodology that empowers organizations to be more responsive to the market.
1. Understanding Customers Better
Asked, “What keeps you up at night?” CMOs’ top answer: “Creating sustainable and engaging customer relationships and improving customer experience.” –Korn Ferry Institute’s “Marketing Pulse Survey 2014”
CMOs are seeking to build better relationships with their customers, but this requires putting more discipline and rigor into understanding them. A4M starts with a discovery phase that is almost 100%-focused on the customer. Who is the customer? How does she feel? What does she want? What is required to create meaningful customer experiences in the prepurchase, purchase, or postpurchase phase? Building this view enables work to be prioritized based on impact to the customer and the business, but also gets marketers thinking further about the tactics and messaging required to reach, engage, and convert customers.
2. Coping With Rapid Change
Top issues in next ten years: Real-time marketing–responding to customers and changes in the marketplace faster. Dealing with speed is a big challenge and a big opportunity. –Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing, 2014“
Real-time marketing is here. The immediacy of digital interaction requires a marketing organization that is primed to act. With A4M, you retain long-term goals and objectives and then break down that plan of record into smaller delivery cycles where you plan, do, learn, and adjust based on marketing performance and customer response.
3. Aligning With Company Priorities
“43% of CMOs surveyed (the overwhelming top answer) said that the inability to align department strategies and priorities was a hurdle to success.” –Korn Ferry Institute’s “Marketing Pulse Survey 2014”
Lead marketers frequently talk about the need to keep their teams focused on what matters–the items that will help move the needle and truly drive performance for the marketing team. Often marketing is sidelined by urgent requests from executives or other departments. A4M imposes a discipline that holds the team and leadership to agreed-on goals and priorities and provides the level of transparency required to ensure that the organization understands marketing’s priorities. Instead of emergencies causing marketing to drop everything, trade-offs are made with conscious consideration for long-term goals.
4. Fostering More Experimentation
“Over 50% of lead marketer respondents said that marketing should take more risks, but only 30% consider themselves risk takers.” –Adobe’s “Digital Roadblock” Survey
Many CMOs know they need to take more risks but report that they are loath to experiment. A4M, at its most basic, is a system built to establish a repeating cycle of plan-test-measure-learn. Big projects are broken down into rapid learning cycles where ideas are launched and tested in smaller increments that reduce the risk associated with bringing new ideas to market. As one agile CMO said, “We use each rapid learning cycles to identify at least one thing we want to test that’s new (experiment), one thing we want to get better at (incrementally improve), and fill the rest of our time with the things we know we just need to get done.”
5. Elevating Marketing Impact
60% of CMOs feel pressure from CEO and/or board of directors to prove value of marketing. 58% say that pressure is increasing. –The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University’s “The CMO Survey”
The pressure on CMOs to prove marketing performance is on the rise. The CMO is now expected to be artist and scientist in equal measure. However, market speed and activity can prevent a marketing organization from building or buying their own measurement tools. A4M drives increased marketing performance, both through helping teams work better together (efficiency), but also by helping teams to focus on getting better (effectiveness) in their marketing efforts. This requires putting in place the right accountability around performance metrics to help support decision-making and to make sure measurement enhancements are prioritized.
You may think agile is just a buzzword, but it’s actually a proven methodology that more than 90% of software developers use to work smarter and more efficiently. Now it’s being used globally by pioneering CMOs who want to excel in today’s market and significantly improve their marketing performance. Change starts by putting in place the right methodologies with the right cultural elements. To face the many challenges keeping you up at night, it’s time to consider a new way of working that will help elevate your marketing performance.
Download the free e-book here (short registration required).