Yes, there were good old days for a CMO. Days when they focused on the brand, creative, and the like.
“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” – Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape Communications Corporation.
Of course, CMOs still do that today—along with a laundry list of new responsibilities. It seems like the title changed from “Chief Marketing Officer” to “Chief Marketing/Technology/Analytics/Data Officer.” In a nutshell? It’s now the “Chief EVERYTHING Officer.”
The change will remain at a rapid clip as responsibilities for CMOs continue to grow more and more each year. CMOs fight the battle of not only building and maintaining a brand, but also the challenges of handling more technology, more analytics, more data.
CMOs can’t afford to miss out on all of this data—and they know it. According to a Forbes Insights report, leaders in data-driven marketing are more than six times more likely to achieve increased profitability over “laggards” (45% vs. 7%) and five times more likely in customer retention (74% vs. 13%).
But to meet these data-driven goals, the CMO job description is transforming. It’s not too surprising that the “new” CMO rising through the ranks is the one with the technology background. This is the priority with experience and resumes now. And who’s fault is this? A lot of the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of US – the technology vendors.
Technology never lived up to the promise of really helping marketing harness the new “data flood.” “We were promised flying cars, and instead what we got was 140 characters,” Peter Thiel famously said about the innovation stall he sees in the tech industry. Same holds true for marketing. There have been a lot of band-aids and not a lot of real solutions.
Here’s the good news. There are some big changes on the horizon, where CMOs can find the freedom to go back to being marketers again—all with the added bonus of easier ways to deal with technology, data, and analytics that come with the job now.
So what will it take for the CMO to live in this new world? First, it will be an acknowledgement that it’s time to go back to marketing again. For decades now, it seems actual marketing has been a side dish to the main course of grappling with data and analytics. But all that data and analytics are so incredibly important—it’s just the approach and ways to deal with it that have been wrong.
The technology is here now to put marketing center stage again. Data informs marketing decisions; there isn’t a worry of how to gather it all and actually make it work. Analysis won’t take weeks, it takes mere seconds.
Best of all? A CMO can be EVERYTHING, and still keep the capital M in Marketing.