Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?
In the third of CMO’s new series looking into what three marketing and digital chiefs think about a key topic or trend influencing their business performance, we ask the head of product at Carsguide, Collette van Rooyen, to answer the following question:
Should CMOs own digital strategy and delivery?
Collette van Rooyen, head of product
When your digital function extended only as far as a single website with your corporate brochures and phone numbers on it, you could certainly understand why marketing may have got ‘stuck’ with digital upkeep and responsibility.
Plainly, a lot has happened in the digital age, and the role your site plays is impacting your business so broadly that marketing can’t possibly ‘carry the can’ for its entire breadth and potential.
Of course, marketing expertise is highly relevant for digital execution. As the brand custodian and consumer champion, the Web is well positioned to convey your organisation’s message and is a critical touchpoint for consumers. However, as digital has become a more critical business tool, some of the most important initiatives your business undertakes will also rely on digital such as sales, operations, customer service and myriad other areas.
Where organisations are greatly impacted by digital across a range of business units, the introduction of a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) ensures that the potential of the technology is being well utilised for competitive advantage and efficiency. Sceptics might say that carving out a c-level role is faddish -- or simply about creating the perception that you're taking digital seriously -- but those in support would affirm that a CDO role is a crucial part of the toolkit for providing strategic coverage at a time of growth and transformation.
Over time, responsibility and prioritisation of digital will automatically be built into the cross department executive roles. However, while this is still an emerging area, a centralised digital function can be of massive benefit for identifying new opportunities.
A CMO is tasked with thinking about digital in the context of the entire marketing mix, and many would admit that can be challenging at times to keep across the full breadth of opportunity digital provides.
The benefit of having a CDO is having someone responsible for focusing on the potential of technology first and foremost, and who can champion this across all departments within your organisation.