The environment in which CMOs operate has never changed more radically than during the past decade - primarily as a result of the dramatic shift and increasing prominence of the internet.
Although some brands have been slower on the uptake in this area than perhaps expected, at a macro level, the move towards digital is having a tangible impact on every CMO's agenda - on the challenges they face and priorities they set for the brand.
The internet is now at scale, so the environment CMOs operate in requires a marketing response that is seamlessly multichannel, ROI-focussed and strategic. This has changed the drumbeat to which CMOs function, not only in terms of speed - where real-time decision making about how and where to spend is often required - but also their proximity to how revenue is generated.
The role has evolved to the extent that the CMO is now a change leader within their organisation
As a result, the role has evolved to the extent that the CMO is now a change leader within their organisation. Ownership of customer databases, segmentation of the customer base, offer generation, pricing and even technology roadmaps all form part of their new remit.
The internet has also meant that internationalisation has become more accessible to all brands, as they no longer need a bricks and mortar presence in countries they want to establish themselves in, but can easily sell their products online to a growing number of global customers. As a result, CMOs need to develop marketing strategies that can be tailored to and resonate with customers across geographies.
Finally, the shift to online has also meant that companies are in the privileged position of having a previously unimaginable amount of data about their customers and their habits at their fingertips. Although the importance of 'big data' is much debated and recognised by many businesses, asking the right questions to glean the best insights on how to interact with consumers is not being achieved many brands.
To better understand the forces that are shaping the CMO's agenda and what is keeping them up at night, OC&C carried out research which cuts to the chase of what CMOs are really dealing with. We went out and interviewed over fifty CMOs across a broad spectrum of brands to identify pragmatic examples of the areas in which they're experiencing either success or feeling disappointment.
The same but different
From B2B to B2C, global players such as Google, IBM and Carlsberg through to smaller, more digital brands like Graze, what really surprised us was that, despite the vastly different sectors these brands operate in, the results were surprisingly unified. No two CMOs are the same, but their challenges and anxieties are surprisingly similar.
In the coming weeks we'll look more closely at the five key trends emerging from our research, including measuring return on investment, the importance of social, the drive towards greater personalisation and delivering on the promise of big data.