The Modern CMO’s Role
Chief marketing officers used to be one of the most important players in major corporations. Traditionally, they’re responsible for creating and maintaining brand awareness, analyzing market conditions, identifying and assessing their company’s main sources of competition and ensuring the company’s marketing strategies are successful. Although this job description hasn’t changed much, many companies, including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, have chosen to let the role of CMO fizzle out. The duties that were once so important are often re-assigned to other c-suite executives, while some companies are creating new c-level executive positions such as chief growth officer and chief commercial officer that focus on branding and customer experience instead of marketing and advertising.
That being said, plenty of CMOs have managed to hang on to their titles. In 2019, Facebook hired Antonio Lucio, formerly of Hewlett Packard, to fill the role of CMO, and in 2018 Ford Motor promoted from within when the company hired Joey Falotico for the position of CMO. Even though there’s clearly hope for the role of CMO to carry on into the future, many CMOs who have managed to hang onto their titles are struggling to adapt to these changes in the business world.
Facing Modern Challenges
In a digital world, reaching consumers is easier than it’s ever been. Although that might seem like it should make it easier to generate leads, it’s actually the opposite. Social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have made it easy to target potential leads and have them engage with advertising; however, turning those clicks and shares into tangible income for the company is becoming harder than ever. While many businesses manage successful social media accounts with followers numbering in the millions, many also face the common struggle of turning those followers into customers.
As such, the modern CMO needs more than just a basic knowledge of social media marketing. They need the ability to penetrate the psyche of their followers and create content that helps their audience to feel a sense of connection and loyalty to the brand without feeling as though they’ve been advertised to. Marketing is no longer about the creative ability to advertise products and educate consumers about the company, it’s about analyzing the customer’s needs and wants and creating a total experience.
Adapting to “Center-Brained” Thinking
Since marketing is no longer only about the creative, it’s important that the modern CMO can combine right-brained creative thinking with left-brained analytical thinking. In order to move their organizations forward into the future, today’s CMOs need to have the unique ability to analyze large sets of data and key performance indicators while tapping into their right brain to creatively provide positive customer experiences and solutions that meet the needs and wants of their consumers.
Product Development Expertise
Today’s CMOs play a larger role in product development than ever before. Historically, the CMOs job was to take a product to market and create hype and awareness. However, the modern CMO is responsible for analyzing consumer needs and taking that information to the product development team to create products and experiences that have the potential to go viral. When a product or service is released for purchase, the CMO needs to ensure that their team has the tools they need to create hype around the product that puts their organization in a positive light. That means that the CMO’s job is to follow its organization’s products and services from conception to release and beyond while monitoring and maintaining a brand image that’s socially aware, environmentally conscious and relationship-focused.
The Flexibility to Take On Additional Responsibilities
Just as with product development, today’s CMOs are often required to carry out other responsibilities that weren’t previously part of their job description. This includes developing superior digital experiences and processes that protect customer data, as well as collaborating with other c-suite executives to ensure the organization has the right team in place to drive growth and sales.
Overall, the role of the modern CMO has experienced plenty of changes in recent years and it can be expected to continue to evolve as technology and consumer needs change and grow.