The role the chief marketing officer now plays has evolved in tandem with the challenges that face modern marketing teams.
For one, "CMOs have to help break down silos and integrate their teams so they can better leverage and manage the technologies that exist to provide value and connective tissue across an organization," Matt Goddard, CEO of digital marketing agency R2integrated, told Marketing Dive.
He explained that marketing executives are operating in a “marketplace” that’s competitive at the customer level as well as the internal organization structure level.
Goddard said, “CMOs are faced with a need to transform and mature their organization while not losing current execution momentum. They have to be implementing and integrating new technologies so they can deliver personalized and measurable campaigns and typically do not have a background in technology. They also have to be able to track and show the ROI of that investment.”
Proving return on investment has been a game changer
The CMO used to be the black sheep at the C-suite table with something of a black hole budget and magic metrics. Marketing technology and the performance indicators that come with digital tracking and measurement changed all that, in a way overnight.
“Historically the CMO operated marketing as a cost center. It was difficult to track true campaign ROI since air tight attribution from TV and radio campaigns was almost impossible,” Goddard said. “The CMO also had no clear line of visibility to the teams connected to the customer (sales, customer service, product development)." Now, chief marketers are responsible for larger investments such as the marketing technology across the organization that are used for everything from customer experience to customer engagement.
CMOs now are working with CFOs, CIOs and other divisions in companies that have been traditionally siloed from marketing. Another shift is a Sales and Marketing alignment that has been fostered by martech and by being able to pinpoint campaign outcomes. Sales is now able to get a smaller batch of highly qualified leads along with attendant background data.
Goddard's ideas for maximizing this kind of collaborative environment for CMOs match what several industry insiders have called for: “The best moves a CMO can make are to build teams comprised of digital natives and digital immigrants who can help bridge the gap between the ‘traditional’ brand expression and the new expectations of the customer to have relevant, personalized, mobile-savvy experiences."
Managing the transformation revolves around aligning people, processes and tech tools.
What comes next: Integrated collaborations
Marketing and technology are now tied at the hip. From programmatic ad buys to automated email sends, marketing is as much a tech discipline as a creative outlet. And because marketers can now prove return on investment, it ups the challenge ante for CMOs.
The future of the executive suite means more integrated collaborations as C-Suite roles continue to collide.
“The CMO will be surrounded by the Chief Digital Officer and Chief Marketing Technologist who will ensure internal needs and outward-facing customer experiences are met and optimized. ... The CMO will also be collaborating with the CFO on the same goal of analyzing ROI on marketing campaigns and investments," Goddard offered. "This new organization is integrated and using a central data repository to inform its decisions and guide its innovation."