The “Marketer 2.0” role that surfaced after the new Millennium required marketing executives to understand the digital world—and not everyone survived that first shift. Now that digital is the norm and artificial intelligence, blockchain, and other technology advancements have emerged, marketing is once again evolving.
These days, CMOs are working faster than ever to drive revenue. Big ideas are important, but it’s the bottom line that measures success, both in the C-suite and to shareholders.
Additionally, in the age of digital transformation and the always-on customer, marketing is increasingly becoming the tie that binds, with every part of an organization touching it. So the barrier-breaking marketing leader must be an agent of change, with eyes on customer touch points, the consumer journey, personalization, and of course, growth.
Wanted: CMOs With A Variety Of New Skills
Effective CMOs must embody an array of skill sets and embrace a variety of roles. While some qualities are quantifiable, others are more nebulous yet equally critical.
• Open and inclusive: Marketing no longer lives only in marketing. It’s a linchpin to B2B and B2C, defining and bringing to life—both internally and externally—the brand persona. Today every touch point, from a display ad to an annual report, requires marketing input. Staying nimble and maintaining the appropriate sense of urgency, marketers must weave together the entire shawl between SEO, SEM, PR, CRM, consumer journeys, conversions, renewals, and ROI.
While each goal can seem to be its own all-consuming job, none should exist in a vacuum. That’s because to ensure that customers get a seamless, delightful brand experience, there needs to be that marketing hub.
• Financially savvy and accountable: Marketing and sales teams must work hand in hand; in some organizations, marketing is held accountable for sales goals—particularly when products are sold directly online. So it stands to reason that marketers must be as attuned to the nuances of investments and partnerships as business development teams. In fact, in many companies, the marketing department’s compensation packages and bonuses are aggregated by revenue earned, just like their sales counterparts.
• Digitally fluent: Marketing leads have had to learn a lot about technology over the past 15 years. Younger marketers—those who entered the profession after programmatic became the standard—certainly have an advantage when it comes to fluency. So senior marketers would be smart to stay ahead as well, not only so they can be informed when it comes to the investments they need to make in new media formats and technology, but also to earn the respect of their teams. It’s much easier to retain and foster talent if the team believes that you know at least as much as they do about the work they’re doing. And it’s the best way to lead your team to success.
• Plays nicely in the sandbox: There’s always been a sibling-like relationship between marketing and sales. You share a common purpose, but sometimes you differ about how to get there. This hasn’t changed in the digital age. So sometimes the role of the CMO is to keep the peace, make sure that everyone is on the same page with goals, and manage the often strong and passionate personalities that come at problems from different vantage points.
Truly, marketing is no longer a single department; it’s a cross-departmental discipline that touches every corner of the business. It’s the glue that holds an organization together, requiring a CMO at its helm with a different scope of knowledge and skill set than those of marketing leaders in the past.
The most effective marketing leaders have the ability to see the forest for the trees but still notice every leaf. Mapping every single meeting, every email, and every plan back to the customer journey is the role of marketing, and it’s a massive task. The marketers who keep the customer first in every moment are the ones who are forging the path ahead—and the ones most poised to help their companies and their clients win.