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Meet the C-Suite: The Chief Marketing Officer Must Focus on the Customer

The onslaught of new technologies, media and marketing channels introduced within the past decade have definitely changed how the C-Suite approaches sales and marketing. Not only is the role of marketing included within a company’s key leadership positions, the responsibilities of the Chief Marketing Officer include more than just advertising and lead generation. In fact, it’s more common to have an executive who’s more content strategist than sales guru.

CMO: Marketing & Technology

The Chief Marketing Officer works closest with the Chief Technology Officer. At some companies, there’s been an emergence of a Chief Marketing Technology Officer, in which the executive must combine technology and analytical expertise to make sense of and leverage the vast amounts of customer and market data.

However, it’s still more common to see separate CMO and CTOs roaming the C-Suite. As a result, sometimes your digital marketing strategy is only as good as your technical infrastructure. However, like the CEO and CIO, who must focus on empowering employees through more efficient workflows, the CMO must empower customers to engage with a company across social networks and online communities.

More Challenges Than Success

In their 2011 CMO study, IBM uncovered a few common themes among CMOs, namely a need for better collaboration with CIOs, a more comprehensive focus on the customer and subsequent responsive communication, as well as a system of engagement that maximizes value with each interaction.

As a result, the study found that many CMOs are struggling to manage the impact of key changes in marketing. A successful CMO isn’t just a social networker, she needs to be a data scientist, adept at gleaning information from customer analytics and evolving key marketing messages accordingly.

It’s no surprise then that turnover among CMOs is quite high. According to a study by SpencerStuart, the average tenure for chief marketing officers of leading U.S. consumer brands is 42 months, which is higher than it was a few years ago, but half of what it is for a traditional CEO.

Customer Marketing Officer?

According to the following IBM CMO study infographic, the biggest problem CMOs have is adapting to the customer-centric social landscape. It’s not about market trends — it’s about the customer. Additionally, it’s not about the data, it’s about how data can help build relationships.

 

CMO_infographic.jpeg  

What Does the Future of the CMO Hold?

When the economy is good, great marketing is just icing on the cake. When times are tough, marketing is often the first to blame for bleak sales. While the CMO must focus on both data and customer relations, at the end of the day, it's all about the bottom line.

However, a company must invest in the cultural, organizational and technological infrastructure so that a CMO can spend more time fine-tuning key messages for the appropriate audience, rather than building the foundation upon which great content can be delivered. You can't have one without the other, and a CMO is hard pressed to do it all, making it essential that the C-Suite works together to support one another.

 
 
 
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