CMOs will take on more responsibility for driving company growth in 2017, but according to study findings released Tuesday, few are prepared to take that responsibility.
The CMO Council, in partnership with Deloitte, released a study Tuesday titled The CMO Shift To Gaining Business Lift. It analyzes the evolving role of CMOs and their newfound responsibilities, as marketing business units turn from advertising cost to profit centers.
Nearly 70% of more than 200 participants in the international study said that within their respective organization, there is a mandate or high level of expectation among senior management and board members for marketing to drive growth and add more value to the organization.
"It's about marketing driving the bottom line," said Liz Miller, SVP of the CMO Council.
CMOs will find that 2017 will become the year they achieve an understanding of data. "We got so tied up in the aggregation of data that marketers lost sight of the fundamentals," she said. "Data is the picture of our customer, but we keep treating it like Excel spreadsheets that sit in our computer."
CMOs may view themselves as growth drivers, but few are prepared to embrace integrated data-driven analytics to drive revenue, better returns, and more profitable customer relationships. Only 6% said they are finding routes to revenue across all facets of their business globally.
"It's like we're all running a data decathlon and we're thinking someone is going to give us a medal for collecting all this data," said Miller. "We think someone will be impressed." Miller said marketers must take that data and begin to analyze lifetime value and connected customer experiences that extend beyond the wall of marketing to find the cohesive strategies that drive growth.
Only 10% are embracing customer-direct ecommerce channels and new monetization programs that upsell and cross-sell based on intimacy and context, for example. Just 8% admit to auditing, assessing and continually improving the customer experience, and just 7% said they are looking for strategic partnerships, alliances and acquisitions that drive growth.
When asked about the top methods by which marketers can drive revenue and improve margins, 44% of respondents pointed to the ability to use data for effective campaign dollars. Some 44% also said it's important to embrace new digital advertising and engagement technology, while 33% cited increasing brand value through intrusive and creative ads, 30% cited rethinking and innovating go-to market strategies, and 23% cited implementing more cost-effective lead-generation tactics.
CMOs also were asked which areas of digital marketing innovation have the most impact on their ability to generate revenue. Respondents, at 46%, gave top marks to Web site design, interaction and conversion. Targeting, personalization and predictive analytics took a 44% share, followed by campaign management platforms at 34%.
CMOs surveyed appear much less likely to leverage or see an impact from lifecycle management platforms at 10%, customer experience management platforms at 10%, or buyer journey mapping and nurturing solutions at 21%
When asked where CMOs would prefer to spend the majority of their time as marketing leaders, 66% of respondents said they would rather spend time teaming with leadership on global business strategy; followed by 58% who would rather spend time innovating and implementing new approaches, products and strategies, and 31% who would rather interact with customers, sales teams and channel partners
Only 16% of CMO respondents said they would choose to spend their time in meetings, and only 11% said they would choose to review budgets and campaigns.
When asked about the specific areas in business development and planning in which CMOs currently play a role, most respondents pointed to actions that shaped long-term vision and engagement but did little to directly drive immediate revenue gains.