Once upon a time, the job of a marketer centered around branding and winning a spot in the consumer’s heart and mind. A CMO-designed brand personality made a campaign stand out from the crowd, with hopes that when it was time to purchase a product or service, that consumers would think of your brand first.
Back then, brand accountability was diffused. Some joked that only half of the dollars they spent on advertising were effective–but no one knew which half.
Then the mobile revolution happened. Mobile phones connected consumers to one another, which led to a change in decision-making patterns. Also of significance, the brand became owned by these hyperconnected consumers–not the organization or CMO.
For the first time, data about the consumer had become table stakes in affecting not only the message, but the marketing team’s success factor.
Gradually, the traditional role of the CMO started to evolve. The new norms of a connected world began to emerge, one in which data could be generated in real time through the digital breadcrumbs that devices, wearables, and sensors track.
Consumer insights are no longer gleaned from CMOs sitting behind a one-way mirror and observing the consumer. Rather, it involves sifting through real-time data that seems to have a life of its own. The first big shift is for CMOs to understand consumer data so they can take on a role within the organisation helping other teams find the value in these insights.
One CMO I know described the data deluge like “drinking from a fire hose.” Its analysis requires a new set of multidisciplinary skills to be brought in-house. The marketing team must include a data scientist. A marketing-tech team needs to support storytellers and brand strategists. New media platforms are creating their own grammar, calling for new media specialists to tailor messages for each one.
But remember: All jobs are tech jobs–especially that of the CMO. After all, CMOs must understand enough technology to be able to brief coders, CX specialists, and design gurus who can design the next tech-enabled experience. They also must understand the role emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, can play.
In addition, CMOs have to be able to identify and nurture relationships with key voices–influencers and other specialists who tell the brand story–on each platform and to be familiar with the supporting tech.
With greater digitization comes measurability for nearly everything. CMOs will need to justify marketing spend at an even more granular level, with returns on every dollar tracked.
Be prepared for the rise of “full-stack” CMOs–those who can balance data and brand storytelling with equal ease.
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