The responsibilities of the modern-day CMO are changing rapidly, thanks to a series of technological, cultural and social trends that are unfolding in today’s business climate. The amplified voice of discerning consumers, the impact of emerging technology and the shift from consumers buying products to buying experiences are forcing CMOs to adopt new strategies to keep pace with demands.
Consumers expect that brands will be a nimble and efficient combination of different roles, including supplier, educator, enabler and experience provider, all across a selection of communication channels. This means that CMOs must leave behind some of their traditional responsibilities, which could include things like overseeing campaigns and brand identities. They will instead need to focus on orchestrating valuable, highly personalized experiences for consumers, managing the revenue streams around marketing opportunities, strategy, products and experiences, and providing necessary support and air cover for demand generation and branding activities.
Together with The Future Laboratory, we’ve identified a number of ways that CMOs must adapt for future success.
Be a Consultant, Not Just a Source
The relationship between brands and consumers is no longer a one-way street, and CMOs must consider how they are engaging consumers — not just informing them about a product or service. But achieving this means that marketers must make a conscious effort to move away from the “all things to all people” approach to marketing, and instead focus on providing consumers with curated, personalized interactions that prove to be useful and meaningful.
The best way to achieve this is to think like a consultant. Brands must consider the customer journey and provide content that will authentically resonate with the interests and needs of their audiences if they are to create lasting relationships.
Abandon Stunts; Build Everyday Value
Short-lived marketing stunts — especially those around emerging technologies, like augmented reality — can leave consumers disengaged and disappointed. Instead, CMOs should favor purposeful experiences to deliver immersive and relevant brand engagement. Furthermore, CMOs should safeguard the user experience by ensuring creative assets are optimized for these environments, and that the experience is consistent across all touchpoints.
Wayfair and Ikea have applied this concept seamlessly by creating AR solutions that help customers envision how products might look in their homes. Rather than merely impressing people the first time they use it, this capability has proven to help accelerate sales conversions, as it saves consumers the time or trouble of traveling to stores or purchasing something they aren’t sure will fit into their home.
While it might be tempting to capitalize on the novelty of emerging technology to “wow” consumers, CMOs should instead understand that it is yet another touchpoint where a consumer will interact with the brand, and should take care to ensure that the experience is consistent and aligned with brand identity.
Engage Your Audience Where They Spend Their Time
Trying to interact and engage with audiences at every touchpoint is like trying to hit a moving target. Monitoring each and every platform, app or medium where consumers can be talking about a brand is exhausting and rarely productive. CMOs must therefore focus their marketing efforts on the channels where consumers are spending most of their time. Engaging with those audiences through those channels is a good first step, but it shouldn’t end there.
CMOs should pay close attention to not only what’s being said about their brand, but also to understand what customers care about, and apply that feedback to products and ensure that the brand’s identity is aligned with consumer expectations.
As we advance toward an increasingly noisy digital world, CMOs need to think and act like modern storytellers to engage consumers. They must also ensure that their company’s output delivers something of value to audiences, and not only listen to what’s being said, but also act upon it. CMOs that adopt this approach put their brands in a strong position for authentic relationships with consumers over the long term.