Forrester: Chief growth officers will replace CMOs
- Forrester forecasts for chief marketing officers next year include that the chief growth officer title will replace CMOs in some cases, more will look to reduce ad budgets but accomplish more with their dollars, marketing technology spending will need to have a clear strategy and the distance between brands and customers will grow thanks to digital assistants unless marketers figure out a way to broker a relationship. The 2018 CMO predictions were released in report made available to Marketing Dive and summarized in a company blog post.
- Customer experience (CX) is a centerpiece of business strategy, according to Forrester, but CX quality has plateaued or dropped for most industries and companies, with 30% expected to see more declines in CX which will result in a loss of growth. The issue is executives ignoring evidence of market disruption, leading to them procrastinate until the evidence of the importance around CX is overwhelming. Such denial will put companies at risk going into 2019.
- Another area where CMOs drop the ball is digital transformation. The forecast sees 20% of CEOs failing to act on digital transformation putting their firms at risk, and currently 60% report believing they are behind in digital transformation. Forrester suggests CEOs and CMOs have to work together to orchestrate digital transformation across the enterprise.
One of the more startling predictions from Forrester is CGOs taking the place of CMOs in the boardroom, but there is already real-world evidence of this trend from big brands. In March, Coca-Cola’s Global CMO Marcos de Quinto left the company and he wasn’t replaced. Instead CGO Francisco Crespo held the closest job title to CMO at the soft drink giant.
Per Forrester, ineffectual CMOs are the reason for the rise of CGOs. CEOs are under pressure to drive growth and, increasingly, are on the lookout for executives who can take on broader responsibilities and lead strategic growth initiatives.
With the significant growth of digital assistants in 2017, platforms like Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are increasinlgy influencing consumer decisions and putting distance between brands and consumers. Forrester states that 10% of purchase decisions will be directly influenced by intelligent agents. This means that understanding algorithms will become more important for marketers, with 25% expected to lack expertise in the “lingua franca” of intelligent agents. Additionally, marketers need to start conceptionalizing ways to engage consumers on these platforms.
The emphasis on CX will lead CMOs to cut back on advertising leading to flat ad spend growth in 2018, a trend that has already been in evidence in 2017 with reductions from P&G, Unilever, JPMorgan Chase and others. These marketers and others will look to accomplish more with smaller budgets by betting on CX to drive affinity, utilizing loyalty programs and using martech to create individual experiences at scale.