Marketing Management Needs Strategy, Insight, Analytics and Innovation

According to a Spencer Stuart survey of more than 160 senior marketing leaders, reported by Arthur S. Brown, Grant Duncan, Thomas Seclow and Greg Welch, digital has become a key driver of business decisions across industries, with a significant number of those choices falling under the marketing function. Digital and its possibilities continue to impact the role of the CMO.

70% of survey respondents said that creativity and analytical ability have been equally important for marketing leaders as digital has become a more central requirement of the function. Only 29% said analytical ability takes primacy and only 1% deemed creativity the main priority for marketing skills.

However, only 19% of respondents believe their teams strike the right balance between creativity and analytics. 29% said their teams’ skill-sets skew more toward the creative side, while 52% said their teams are more analytical, evidence that marketing leaders have been building up their teams with people who are strong in analytics.

Mark Addicks, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for General Mills, is quoted as saying “… as we get more precise data that can tell us a lot more about the consumer than ever before… tempting for that to be the endpoint… but it’s not the endpoint… still need a creative idea that engages them…”

The report says that, According to Tony Palmer, president of global brands and innovation for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, says the report, “… the key is to use analytics to enable and enhance creativity… the more structured you are, the more disciplined, the more scientific your work is… the more focused… the better the creativity… “

78% of respondents expect that future marketing leaders will bring a blend of creativity and analytical orientation; 11% anticipate future marketing leaders will have an analytical background and 1% expect a creative orientation. Some respondents remarked that the combination of creativity and analytics in future marketing leaders will need to be supplemented by strategic ability, consumer acumen and technology knowledge.

Alison Lewis, global chief marketing officer of Johnson & Johnson’s consumer companies, says “… really important for a CMO is to keep the balance between the bigness of the ideas… and being… clear that these big ideas will drive… brand objectives… and that digital is a channel through which they are executed… ”

Finding talent with a proper blend of the creative and analytical is a challenge with no single go-to source for talent, according to survey respondents, and 91% of respondents look externally for talent with affinities for both the creative and analytical.

Competitors within the sector were viewed as viable sources of talent for 22% of respondents,

while:

  • 16% look to the technology industry
  • 16% tap historically creative sectors such as advertising and media
  • 37% said they find talent from “other” sources, including strategy consulting firms, startups, analytics companies and other sectors
  • 9% look for the combination of creative and analytical talent within their own marketing teams

Strategic mindset was by far the No. 1 desired skill for today’s CMOs by the majority of respondents, says the report, and strategic mindset remained the top priority for future CMO skill-sets for 47% of respondents. General management was deemed the top skill for today’s CMOs.

20% consider customer insight the No. 2 skill for CMOs to possess today; 16% consider it the No. 2 skill for CMOs of the future and only 9% believe it is the most important skill for the future.

Key Skills/Expertise CMOs Expected to Possess Today (Top Three Choices; % of Respondents

Key Skill

1st Choice

2nd  Choice

3rd Choice

Strategic mindset

54%

17%

7%

Customer insight

8

20

9

Innovation

4

11

12

Change leadership

6

9

13

Creativity

7

7

7

General management

9

5

7

Source: Spencer Stuart, May 2014

The laundry list of desired skills for marketing leaders continues to grow, says the report, and many marketers are wondering if it will be possible to find leaders with all of these skills, though 86% of respondents believe it will be realistic to expect to find this full gamut of skills within one person in the future.

Key Future Skills Expected of CMOs (% of Respondents; Top Three Choices)

 

% of Senior Marketing Leaders

Future Skill

1st Choice

2nd  Choice

3rd Choice

Strategic mindset

47%

16%

11%

Customer insight

9

16

9

Analytical orientation

8

14

12

Innovation

3

12

16

Digital expertise

6

12

9

Change leadership

6

8

11

Talent development

3

4

14

Global perspective

4

5

5

Creativity

3

4

6

Financial acumen

2

2

2

Source: Spencer Stuart, May 2014

But not all are confident this multi-skilled talent pool will last forever.

The best way to combat that talent gap is through talent development, notes the report, and yet 89% of respondents do not believe organizations in general are doing a good job of training/developing future marketing leaders with diverse skills. 27% of survey respondents said their organizations do not have formal training programs to help develop marketers with the digital skills they will need in the future.

Digital presents vast opportunities for organizations to gain unprecedented insights on customer behavior, says the report, but requires that organizations make significant investments in technology resources and talent. As a result, boards are placing more scrutiny on digital initiatives, and many marketing leaders face heightened expectations for demonstrated ROI.

One survey respondent noted that “… there seems to be a misconception that digital is somehow ‘free’ and that it is entirely metrics-driven… more research (needed) into the real role digital… canplay in the marketing mix… it is… not a silver bullet.”

The report concludes by saying that “Digital has had a significant impact on the marketing function and, as technology continues to evolve, so will the profile of marketing leaders. Although analytical skills will be vital as companies pursue the possibilities of digital, most marketing leaders believe that the art and science of marketing go hand in hand. With a limited pool of talent that combines the creative and analytical, current marketing executives must invest in creating their own marketing magic and develop tomorrow’s marketing leaders today.”

N.B. 38% of survey respondents came from the consumer industry; 21% came from financial services and 15% from “other” sectors, including telecommunications, retail, entertainment and travel; 13% of respondents work in the technology industry, 7% in life sciences/healthcare, 5% in media, 5% in advertising, 3% in nonprofit and 1% in industrial.

For more information from Spencer Stuart, and access to the complete report, please visit here.

Recommend (1)