CMOs believe they are evolving effectively as digital disciplines mature, according to a new study. But 40% of them see that lack of technical skills as their primary weakness.
The report, a joint effort between Forrester Research and Heidrick & Struggles, recommends that marketing chiefs don’t waste any time in gaining that know-how.
“By thinking strategically about how to use social and digital assets, working closely with peers in IT, and continuing to drive growth initiatives and a renewed focus on the customer across the organization, CMOs will become key members of the C-suite and key enablers of success for the enterprise,” the authors write.
Based on responses from about 200 CMOs, the authors also found that increasingly, CMOs need to be the link between business and marketing strategy.
“Elevating marketing to be more than a fulfillment function for the organization has become table stakes for organizations that are placing the customer at the center of everything they do,” they write. “As the voice of the customer in the C-suite and an officer of the company, the CMO has the responsibility and increasingly, the credibility to lead a customer-obsessed transformation of the business strategy.”
But adding more tech skills is essential, and too many are quick to “foist anything with a plug in it off on IT.”
Evolved CMOs are marketers with some degree of tech know-how and are able to recognize which devices and platforms their customers use personally and professionally and how to leverage those technologies for marketing purposes. To that end, “a partnership with the CIO or CTO has never been more important.” Still, 89% believe that vision and strategic thinking are most important for their personal success.
Another issue, the study revealed, is the ongoing pursuit of new customers at the expense of retaining the old, with 59% saying acquiring new customers is the top priority in their company, followed by launching new brands and products (42%.) Only 30% say retaining current customers is job No. 1. “Enriching an existing pool of customers is a better long-term strategy than seeking new ones all the time,” the authors suggest.