The CMO’s Emerging Role, Part 3: Leveraging New Skills

The CMO’s Emerging Role, Part 3: Leveraging New Skills

As your company’s chief marketing officer (CMO), how are you fitting into the IT space and the organization as a whole? The heightened role of CMO in today’s customer-focused enterprise requires that you contribute more fully to IT decision making and CEO mandates for business growth, as we explained in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on the CMO’s emerging role.

We’ve looked at how the lines have blurred between CMO and chief information officer (CIO), and how the two roles can maximize collaboration to achieve business goals. But the question remains as to how the CMO can find the hours in a day to accomplish all of his or her new duties.

If you’re still focused on advertising, brand management and market research, you’re behind the eight ball. And, yet, you still have those responsibilities—which have expanded with evolving buying patterns and business models. On top of also being their brands’ voice, CMOs are expected to contribute to profitable growth for the business. This often means taking charge of the overall customer experience—reaching beyond touchpoints owned and controlled by marketing.

To avoid any disconnect between what a brand promises and what it actually delivers, most CMOs have to develop a skill set that includes data, science and digitization (e.g., social and mobile). That’s hard enough to do, but another key challenge is identifying how, when and where to deploy your new knowledge. Here are some ideas that encompass many of the various hats you wear:

Customer experience leader: With your cross-organizational skills as data scientist, customer satisfaction czar and business analyst, you can employ data to better understand the state of customer experience across channels and the enterprise to create meaningful customer experience programs. A senior executive who understands the dynamics of the new, empowered buyer can ensure a successful integration at the implementation level.

Marketing technologist: As a dedicated technology chief marketer, you should take a leading role in the implementation of new technologies that help customers connect with the business, and that allow your company to better understand the needs of the customers. Your dual function as IT specialist and customer experience guru means you’ll be expected to respond rapidly to both technology innovations and evolving customer expectations. Work closely with your CIO for best results.

Sales enabler: Yes, you’ll have to overcome the age-old feud between sales and marketing to maximize business opportunities. More tools for outbound marketing and lead generation are obscuring traditional distinctions between these two departments. You’ll need to leverage this shift to hide any gaps between sales and marketing that easily show up on today’s online media platforms. Plus, you hold the customer data on which successful selling now relies. Your new skills should also enable you to provide answers when questions of ROI arise for various initiatives.

Content director: Here your role is to set standards for creating, collecting and distributing content that supports business objectives. This is not an easy target. In fact, 89 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing, but far fewer—just 22 percent—say they’re very good at it, according to a 2016 survey by the Content Marketing Institute. The task requires someone who can turn all the buzz, hype and noise out there into relevant, interesting content that resonates with consumers.

Fortunately, CMOs have teams that help them fulfill these multiple responsibilities. You’ll need to bolster your team with specialists—from search engine optimizers to content marketers to social media experts—who can evolve with a changing landscape. Identify and mentor high-potential employees who are agile and capable of performing in every aspect of marketing.

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