Commentary

How to Give Power Back To CMOs

It’s unfortunate that, despite a wide range of factors, CMOs usually bear the brunt when companies miss lucrative growth targets. In one recent survey by the Fournaise Marketing Group, 80% of CEOs expressed dissatisfaction with their CMO, while only 26% of CMOs believe they have the right role. There’s a huge disconnect here, which means it’s time for CMOs to take actionable steps to become cutting-edge marketing innovators.

In the year ahead, marketers must be prepared to follow what's changing in the marketplace while not being tied down by old methods simply because that’s what has worked in the past. Here’s how to take those new steps in 2019.

Set your strategy. CMOs are often disconnected from real business goals. They surely get deliverable requests, like needing 500 more customers by next month. But those directives float downstream to marketing managers and just become about generating leads without thinking of the true metrics that should be evaluated. CMOs often cut themselves off from the overall strategy to accomplish those goals. That needs to change.

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For example, a lot of internal mapping that’s done for planning out the stages of a customer journey requires both software skills and some analytical skills to truly analyze the results. When CMOs start creating independent strategies for each to come to life, sometimes they just end up isolating parts of the customer journey maps without understanding what the complete picture looks like. They just know these tools are great for attribution, but they don't fully put them to good use.

Establishing and maintaining key strategies will force CMOs to learn more about the nitty-gritty within the complete picture.

Support. The future looks brightest for CMOs and companies that can support their marketing efforts to provide holistic value across the company.

Traditional marketing structures have had marketing coordinators, marketing managers and maybe a content writer. But the modern structure is a lot different.There are now specialists required for various fields.

For instance, SEO-focused team members might not know anything about how to buy digital media. A tech-savvy team member might end up getting saddled with every digital-related question, whether it's Facebook or display campaigns or Google Analytics. That's definitely not an ideal structure.

Identifying specialists rather than generalists, and building a team around departmental cornerstones, is much more important now. By having that technically robust internal support, people take ownership of specific marketing channels and CMOs can more easily have their finger on the pulse of the customer.

Tools. In 2019, CMOs should think like a CTO, and actively ask themselves what specific tools can help them bypass the internal bureaucracy that hampers marketing standards and best practices.

In large organizations, there are often so many disparate marketing efforts going on across different channels that it’s extremely difficult for CMOs and other marketing heads to get a clear look into their marketing activities. By integrating major tech functions into a single dashboard like a customer data platform, marketing decision-makers get an unvarnished, un-siloed view to drive overall success.

Marketing departments are usually under pressure to generate deliverables, but they're not being tapped to necessarily improve the processes. That's the part the CMO must play in 2019. It's not just about delivering on KPIs. A top CMO always thinks in future terms, preparing the company for what’s around the next turn from customers and their experiences.

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