On The CMO Agenda — In Perpetual Motion: The CMO’s Role In A Changing World

By Aqilliz  

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CM Os role in perpetual motion

The future of marketing is rife with uncertainty and in today’s landscape, these challenges have only grown starker; in the face of such disruption, CMOs should be ready to deliver growth and resilience more than ever before. Once the leaders responsible for advertising, brand management, and market research, today’s CMOs now have vast and complex responsibilities reaching far beyond that of traditional marketing.

In a world of rapidly advancing technology, changing customer attitudes, and unpredictable trends, the role of the CMO must also evolve to fit the changing needs of modern organisations. As we look to the future, how can marketing leaders balance the wants, needs, and desires of the customer and the company, while staying relevant in these changing times?

Investing in innovation

Given the degree of uncertainty the future holds, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the CMOs to find a thought-through balance between budget reductions and strategic reinvestment. Rather than cutting costs across the board, marketing leaders must find new unique ways to unlock value and drive efficiency. For instance, they could look at formulating new approaches that maximise the effectiveness of current processes and free up resources to reinvest in activities that propel growth in the current scenario. To improve spending efficiency, CMOs should continually evaluate and keep a close tab on campaign performance — get rid of underperforming segments and re-invest in the high-ROI activities in order to minimise opportunity cost and maximise returns.

With that said, leaders should not stop investing in innovation. CMOs should focus on investing in next-gen marketing capabilities and innovations in order to make the most of customers’ strong shift to digital, by building advanced customer data infrastructure and analytics tools to better understand their customers’ needs, behaviours and preferences. In doing so, marketers can have access to measurement and attribution solutions that are fast, user-first and actionable. When CMOs can understand which specific campaign elements are performing well and vice versa, they can then make necessary adjustments, maximising impact and ROI. According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey for 2020-2021, technology currently accounts for 26.2 percent of marketing budgets — the largest proportion compared to media, in-house labour, and agencies. This is in line with marketers’ renewed focus on customer loyalty, with CMOs indicating that they’re least likely to cut customer data platforms, mobile marketing software, and digital commerce technology.

Acting with audacity

The modern CMO wears many different hats — digital, data, and tech guru, growth driver, customer representative, change-maker — the list goes on. Now, more than ever, while juggling all these different roles, the CMO must also be brave. Marketing leaders looking to stand out need to be courageous, take risks, hold firm to their purpose, shake up organisational structures, and be willing to try new things. The great CMOs of tomorrow are influencers, but they’re also the innovators.

Being a bold marketing leader means a number of things. It means being able to take chances, to go against the grain – it means to truly understand what consumers are looking for, make their voices heard in the boardroom, and to point the way forward and persuade colleagues to follow. The industry is beginning to push boundaries, tackle taboos, and think about the humanity in everything we do. For instance, Nike’s decision to partner with Colin Kaepernick as the face of their 30th anniversary ad campaign reflects a bold move by the brand to take a stand for social justice in a way that few others have dared to do. This allowed the brand to better connect with the next generation of consumers, who are now more passionate than ever about social and environmental issues, and who want to know that the values of the brands they’re buying align with their own. In line with this new narrative, brave marketing leaders shouldn’t just be trying to grow their brands — they should also be working out how to make the world a better place.

Redefining the role

The CMO plays an ever more critical role in creating and managing strategies to achieve sustainable, profitable growth. No longer is it enough to simply understand advertising and orchestrate campaigns, today’s marketing leaders need a strong grasp of the technology driving tomorrow’s sales, even down to ethical technology and data protection. They must understand finance, revenue, and how to invest in platforms and tools that will drive the most engagement with the most relevant, targeted audience.

COVID-19 interrupted supply chains and drastically altered shopping patterns. Marketers had to adapt quickly, pausing or canceling campaigns to find new messaging that was respectful of the times, while adjusting to a new reality in which digital and contactless shopping behaviours accelerated. In this current environment, some CMOs may feel more open to discarding past processes or ways of thinking, and to instead explore new ideas and growth paths such as digital transformation.

Given this, CMOs should focus above all on innovation and growth — building data and insights-driven marketing organisations that can read customer signals at scale and make them actionable in real-time. In a fast-moving, dynamic market, that’s where CMOs can step up to help organisations grow and stay resilient. One of the keys to driving efficiency and capturing greater ROI is agile marketing, which draws on a framework of speed, quality, and flexibility that enables organisations to swiftly react to changes.

At Aqilliz, we hope to make this process easier with our one-stop solutions, which are aimed at enabling marketers to efficiently optimise campaigns, connect with consumers, and track results. As the industry progresses towards an increasingly privacy-centric future, adopting innovative models of customer data platforms and customer relationship management tools will be critical to ensuring compliance. By leveraging the right emerging technologies to build their digital toolkits, CMOs can better support their campaigns to achieve far more meaningful customer engagement.

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