Five Resolutions Every CMO Should Make For 2016
Now more than ever, CMOs must be whole-brained marketers who drive collaboration, coordinate omnichannel strategies, adapt to evolving technologies, and manage every aspect of the customer experience. And they’ll also need more than marketing expertise.
Businesses have long lived by the adage that the customer is always right. But with new advancements in consumer data tracking, CMOs are learning that the customer isn’t just always right—the customer is king. And marketers must deliver creative, valuable experiences on each king’s devices and terms or suffer the consequences.
CMOs were never glorified advertisers, though outdated notions painted them that way. Now more than ever, CMOs must be whole-brained marketers who drive collaboration, coordinate omnichannel strategies, adapt to evolving technologies, and manage every aspect of the customer experience.
And they’ll also need more than marketing expertise. By 2020, according to Michael Brenner’s article for The Guardian, marketers will need engineering and growth-hacking skills to run their departments effectively.
With so many new demands, 2016 is the year of the CMO. That’s why I’ve created this set of resolutions for my company. Each has been helpful in shaping my outlook for the coming year, and I’m sure they will be beneficial to my fellow CMOs.
1. Build a data-driven agenda: Analytics are key to owning customers’ brand experiences. A McKinsey & Company report shows that analytics-savvy companies greatly outperform their competitors—think 126% more profit and 132% greater return on investment—but only if top executives are involved in the marketing.
Positions such as chief customer officer, chief digital officer, and chief experience officer cropped up recently because we now have the power to harness customer data and use it to optimize interactions. And all of these positions fall under marketing. CMOs should view themselves as the center of a hub-and-spoke organization, managing other important players in an interconnected (not siloed) process.
2. Digitize and automate: The future of marketing is in digital, and automated systems prove vital to content and data management. Customer insights are driving campaigns more every day, and the sheer amount of information requires highly sophisticated approaches to sorting and analyzing the data within it. But 80% of marketers say they’re overwhelmed by digital demands, so CMOs should invest in resources and training now to meet the rising call for online and mobile experiences.
3. Reposition your brand through marketing: This is the year of rebranding, considering every company is now a tech company to some extent. Digitization forced shifts in global purchasing trends and created a winner-takes-all environment wherein the fastest to adapt are most successful. CMOs play a crucial role in leveraging new technologies to keep their companies innovative. Marketing heads should not only pull customer data from across the organization, but also collaborate across departments to design seamless campaigns and a forward-thinking image.
Marketing without tools will be all but impossible in the coming year, especially as the demand for tech-driven services increases. We’re witnessing this change right now, as major clients demand global digital strategies. Both Tata Sons and Coca-Cola have hired new agencies to take their international marketing into the next era, and as far back as July 2015, 72% of marketers were seeking new agency partners to better use data and digital marketing.
4. Crowdsource innovative ideas: Inviting consumers to share their ideas not only develops a positive association with the brand, but also brings fresh perspective into the organization. CMOs should organize XPRIZE-style competitions—larger-than-life challenges designed around innovation—to kick-start creativity. Companies have used crowdsourcing for photography, content, development, and early product funding. Now it’s time to step it up a notch.
5. Create content that accelerates thought leadership status: Content is the most effective way to connect with customers, which is why marketers cited it as their most important tool in 2015. Brands can’t hit people over the head with their knowledge or demand authority, so CMOs must create powerful but subtle campaigns that showcase their companies’ values.
If some experts are right, CMOs will soon move beyond running marketing departments to running businesses. The CMO’s role is expanding all the time, and digital is forcing fast evolutions.
The new year will bring more unprecedented changes, so it’s important to make thoughtful resolutions now to take advantage of those opportunities as they arise.
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