CMOs Must Adapt To Digital Reality

They were right. The revolution isn’t going to be televised. It’s going to be streamed, mobilized, optimized and analyzed through digital channels. And the CMOs that don’t get it, are likely to be left behind.

According to new research from Accenture, digital marketing will account for more than three-quarters of CMO’s overall marketing budgets within the next five years. And though 78% of nearly 600 CMOs queried said they believed digital, mobile and analytics would fundamentally change their marketing, just as many (79%) said they didn’t believe their companies were prepared for this shift. 

Much of this lack-of-preparedness is due to old legacy systems remaining in place, despite the vastly changing role of marketing, which can include not just advertising, but customer service, technology and advanced analytics, says Glen Hartman, global managing director of digital transformation for Accenture Interactive.

“The way that marketing has been defined in the past needs to change. Marketing [is now] linked with technology and analytics and that means new areas that CMOs need to embrace,” Hartman tells Marketing Daily. “The purview of the CMO needs to expand to drive a transformational agenda.”

This means embracing new technology developments within marketing, understanding customers and ensuring a consistent customer experience across all channels. According to Accenture’s survey, only 62% of CMOs said they felt their companies were providing a good customer experience. 

“How to be relevant to the consumer is where the CMO needs to think differently,” Hartman says. “It has to do with making businesses more consumer-centric and creating initiatives vs. marketing outcomes.”

Some of those initiatives involve empathizing with customers and taking truly consumer-centric approach that realizes the long-term value of a customer. “It’s taking the time to empathize with the customer and understand that marketing — rather than something you do to the customer — is something you do with the customer,” Hartman says. 

Those that don’t adapt, Hartman says, will do so at their own peril, as more CEOs see the need for consumer accountability. Some are beginning to create functions such as chief experience officer or chief consumer officer to satisfy that need, often at the expense of marketing departments. 

“It’s generally a business initiative driven by the CEO,” Hartman says. “It’s up to the CMO to answer the call.”

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1 comment about "CMOs Must Adapt To Digital Reality".
  1. Opher Kahane from Origami Logic , June 18, 2014 at 12:19 p.m.
    Great article - we very much agree with the findings from what we see with the large brands we work with. Marketing success in the digital era requires the right org structure, process and tools.