Marketing as a discipline is going through a seismic shift. Customers have more power now than ever before, and brands are realizing that they can’t rely on traditional marketing methods to reach them.
As part of this dynamic, CMOs are under immense pressure to lead their teams through this new, uncharted landscape. According to a survey by Deloitte, 80% of CMOs are sensing increased expectations and 82% believe they need to personally acquire new skills.
That’s why – in a new whitepaper about the future of marketing – Mohanbir Sawhney, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, outlined a brand-new job description for the CMO of tomorrow.
Sawhney wrote that CMOs have to master these 5 key roles to survive this marketing transformation.
1. The Customer Experience Leader
It’s incredible that 89% of companies now compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. Yet, according to a new study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, less than half of today’s companies have an executive dedicated to this crucial task.
That’s where the CMO should come in. Today’s marketing leaders need to develop programs that will measure, monitor, and improve customer experience management across the company.
As Sawhney writes, “By wholeheartedly taking ownership of customer experience, CMOs can position themselves to spur alignment among all of their organization’s customer-facing functions – including sales, research, commerce, and customer care.”
2. The Insights Generator
As the customer experience leader, CMOs will have access to a wealth of data from multiple customer touchpoints. That’s critical because they need to mine this data for insights about consumer needs and behaviors and use those findings to fuel innovation.
If they see that customers are tweeting positively about a certain product, for example, CMOs can inform the appropriate teams and ensure that there is sufficient supply to meet the growing demand. A CMO might also recognize an increase in complaints about in-store service in a particular region – information he or she can use to improve brick and mortar operations.
According to Sawhney, “When these insights are fed to other functions, customer feedback can dramatically improve products, qualify leads, target ad spending, and elevate customer service.”
3. The Growth Catalyzer
Smart CMOs don’t just identify great ideas, they own them and act on them.
A great example of this done well is from the restaurant chain, McDonald’s, who used social listening to recognize that customers wanted breakfast sandwiches to be available all day. Marketers then worked with supply chains to build the All Day Breakfast menu, which prompted significant revenue growth after 14 consecutive quarters of decline.
To drive similar success, marketing leaders must break down silos between teams. Those who gather social data and those who interact with customers must be able to communicate and collaborate in real time.
4. The Brand Steward
All companies are vulnerable to public criticism and negative reviews online. That’s why CMOs must identify brand advocates and empower them to share their positive experiences. With advocates on their side, CMOs can help create engaged communities of new and loyal customers.
“By embracing the ‘brand steward’ role and committing to rank and file Advocates,” Sawhney says, “CMOs can not only guard against detractors, they can build and sustain brand affinity.”
5. The Talent Incubator
CMOs aren’t the only ones affected by digital transformation. Content directors, data scientists, and managers will need to be trained or re-hired to help the CMO fulfill these new responsibilities.
Marketing leaders must take a hard look at their current teams and find opportunities to expand digital and technical expertise. If current employees aren’t up to the job, CMOs need to find candidates with the right skill sets. After all, the CMO of tomorrow needs the team of tomorrow in order to succeed.
The Customer-First CMO Profile
The rules of marketing have changed. In recognition of this, the role of the CMO must change as well.
As IBM’s CMO, Michelle Peluso writes in the whitepaper, “20 years ago, the CMO was essentially the broadcast arm of a company in charge of taking the company’s messages and distributing them through advertising, PR, etc. But that is changing dramatically now.”
It’s up to CMOs to lead their companies confidently into this new world of marketing, and that starts with mastering the 5 competencies outlined above. It’s not just critical if they want to keep their job – it’s absolutely necessary if they want their company to survive.
How are you improving your brand’s customer experience? Share your best practices with the Microsoft Partner Community here.