On the one hand, the accelerated pace of change today is forcing them to focus on being brilliant at the basics just to keep up with their customers. On the other hand, research shows 52% of consumer goods CEOs now hold their CMOs responsible for driving disruptive growth.
So how can CMOs best manage these competing requirements? The temptation is to fall back on what’s worked before. Three in every four CMOs say the top way they look to achieve strategic marketing objectives is by reapplying solutions that worked in the past.
But this isn’t sustainable in the long run. An agile, responsive “living” business set on capturing future sources of growth needs its CMO to help create new value, supporting "hyper-relevant” experiences that deliver just what the customer needs, just when they need it.
CMOs should therefore be helping the whole organization orient itself around customer needs and growth. The goal is to create an organization that can adapt and respond, not just to where customers are today, but also to where they’ll be tomorrow. That means working across organizational boundaries to upgrade operating models and shape a far more customer-centric culture.
As the need for personalized experience and tailored marketing becomes ever more pressing, those ecosystem relationships become much more than a nice idea. They become a core part of competitive advantage to drive digital content and experience, as a key means of building consumer relationships for the long haul.
Look at how one company is cleverly crowdsourcing consumer views about its beers via its website, then using artificial intelligence to update its recipes. By centering its marketing and operating model around customer needs, it’s identified a new growth opportunity and is delivering consumer relevance on a whole new scale.
New toolkits required
Many consumer goods CMOs today are still being held back by legacy systems and processes -- significantly more so than in other industries. in one study, six out of 10 said they weren’t able to develop the more agile, dynamic organizations and operating models required in today’s fast-changing environment.
Modern, adaptable backend systems will deliver the marketing agility that smaller, newer competitors are already enjoying. And technologies like AI, analytics, and the IoT will open up new operating models and create different and much more personalized product and service innovation to serve consumers across a variety of channels.
Maximizing future talent
CMOs must also be ready to reimagine skillsets and ways of working. Many are abandoning static hierarchies to create more flexible organizational structures (such as multidisciplinary “pods” of employees formed to solve specific problems).
They should also be planning for a very different kind of workforce, including entirely new roles like “immersive experience designers,” “growth hackers” and “futurologists” who can unlock growth through experimentation and technology-led creativity.
Beyond brilliant basics
As the expectations for marketers continue to grow, CMOs must find the freedom to take on an expanded role, balancing the need to deliver the marketing basics brilliantly and cost-effectively with the need to help the whole business pivot to future sources of revenue. It means growth is now a central part of every CMO’s agenda.