CMO of the Future

The CMO title barely existed 15 years ago but it is already undergoing a significant transformation. There are some major shifts in landscape in which they operate: changes in Technology, Consumer Behavior and the Media Landscape. In a recent research report entitled Future Tense: the Global CMO published by the Economist Intelligence Unit I hope to recap some of the most salient points of this paper as I see them.

Marketing is moving from a pure brand image play to something much more interesting. “Now the ability to communicate the marketing message to consumers through interactive media is critical.” To me this means – marketing must be able to create and package great ideas for consumption of the right audience – think the spread of great ideas (credit Seth Godin – Idea Virus). If you have a story worth repeating, bloggers, podcasters, etc will repeat your story all over the world thereby building buzz and your brand at the same time. This is becoming an art in itself.

While print advertising is still plays a role, high level executives are using search, forums, blogs and even Twitter (see C Level Executives who use Twitter). So your information has to be out there in all formats which means you must be more integrated.

Jon Iwata, SVP of Marketing and Communications for IBM said “If you think backward from the audience you’re trying to reach and the channels and methods you’ve used to try to reach them, it all argues for taking a much more integrated approach to the work of marketing and communications.”

Add to this what I consider the secret sauce which is tracking and nurturing leads. A whopping 64% of survey respondents say that the global marketing head has served for less than three years. While this revolving door of marketing is alarming – the way to “break free of this relevancy crisis is to absolutely be accountable for the one and only metric that counts to a business and that’s growth [in sales].” (see Rethinking Metrics Again) This can only be accomplished with a strong lead management or lead nurturing process to graduate leads to sales and track ROI.

Taken together I think there is a prescription for the evolving CMO. Strong online acumen with all forms of new media and accountability through lead nurturing that proves the value of every dollar spend contributed to growth in sales!

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