The age of the customer may also turn out to be the age of the chief marketing officer (CMO).
Marketers with strong business skills are in demand, earning more money and developing closer ties to CEOs, according to management experts interviewed by CMSWire.
Much of this increased status results from CEO directives to show returns on investments in marketing technologies designed to attract consumers, who have gained an advantage over marketers by using technologies of their own.
What CEOs Want
"CEOs want somebody who's got a business perspective as a marketer," said Tom Seclow, who leads the North American Marketing Officer Practice for Spencer Stuart, a search firm that helps to fill about 200 senior marketing positions a year.
Seclow said companies are posing tougher questions to marketers now. They're asking, "How are your marketing actions going to impact our business? And don't tell me the soft, squishy stuff about how the brand attribute ratings are going to go up and people will feel better about our product in the marketplace. Tell me how they're going to equate to more sales."
All of this has nudged-up the job security for senior marketers, though the median tenure is still shy of four years. A recent Spencer Stuart study put the average longevity of a marketing officer at 45 months, nearly double the low-point of 23 months seen in 2006.
A second study, released in late July by the 7,000-member CMO Council, ties the highest compensation to executives who focus on restructuring marketing efforts to "drive results, improving the yield/accountability of marketing, and building digital capabilities."
"The advent of digital [technology] is enabling marketers to do a better job of empowering their positions," said Donovan Neale-May, the council's executive director. "It's also allowing them to work more closely with CIOs, CFOs and chief operating officers."
Neale-May said marketing technologies are giving CMOs "far more credibility, far more legitimacy" and enabling them "to take on the voice of the customer as we've never seen."
To be sure, there are exceptions. Kathleen Schaub, vice president of research in IDC's CMO Advisory Practice, said the Spencer Stuart tenure study simply doesn't match her daily reality of working with hundreds of technology companies.