Living Nightmares For CMOs: From ROI To Being Replaced

We all have our worries. But nobody in marketing has more than CMOs, judging by Marketing On My Mind, a new study by BrandKeys. 

There is a lesson here for email specialists who want to become CMO someday — you’ll live longer if you don’t. 

When asked what keeps them awake at night, 97% of CMOs cite ROI and ROMI. Next are Big Data, big tech and big security issues (95).

It may be a relief to know that email is not one of the major concerns. But it falls into several other possible buckets. 

For instance, 95% fret about establishing trust. And 92% are concerned with innovation, AI, technology and marketing automation. Such investments are often made in the email area. 

Moving down the list, 90% have lost sleep over consumer expectations regarding privacy and transparency (as well they should). 

What’s scary here is that of 20 choices, none draws less than a 75% response, and that CMOS are facing all these issues — including the fear that they will be replaced by a chief revenue officer. Who can deal with such comprehensive anxiety?  



“CMOs and brand managers have plenty to keep them up at night, and, given the start of a new year, we thought we’d see which issues were most responsible for their loss of sleep,” states Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.

The study also shows that CMOs worry in the abstract, even about things that haven’t yet affected their brands — like the political climate.   

Moving on, 89% stay up thinking about better managing social networking, and 88% about creating relevant advertising content and storytelling. In addition, 86% cite concerns over deployment of predictive consumer behavior analytics and technologies.

Like others in the C suite, CMOs have to cope with social issues. So 85% are concerned about having to deal with consumer advocacy and social activism such as the #MeToo movement and the debate over gun violence (85%).

What could possibly be left? Here are some other concerns: 

  • Developing a long-term strategy that aligns with corporate growth goals — 80%
  • Ability to engage my audiences, not just identify and find them — 80%
  • The democratization of the digital world and protecting my brand’s equity — 79%
  • Political Tribalism and how it affects my brand — 77%
  • Being relevant and tweeted, not just tweeted — 75%
  • Keeping consumers engaged with my brand — 75%
  • Create better cross-platform synergy for my marketing campaigns — 75%
  • Being replaced by a chief revenue officer — 75%
  • Creating an "unlearning curve" to move away from legacy marketing metrics — 75%
  • Creating marketing synergy among different generational age cohorts — 75% 

We hope CMOs are being paid well.





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