In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
What will the future of marketing and the role of the CMO look like in 2016? What marketing tools will be employed? How will marketing metrics be applied? Will data-driven marketing fulfill its potential?
With current turnover rates, the next two years will lead to a whole new generation of CMOs. As an exercise, OgilvyOne leaders looked into the future of marketing by examining “A Day in the Life of the CMO in 2016,” based on experiences with more than 3000 CMOs in the agency’s current client roster and insights into future trends in the industry.
First, they wanted to understand the mindset of the CMO today, so they delved into the IBM Global CMO Study, which surveyed more than 1735 CMOs in 62 industries. The study paints a clear picture of the challenges facing CMOs, revealing that they:
- Feel overwhelmed by the amount of data available to them
- Know that social media is important but do not yet know how to use it for competitive advantage
- Are open to technology but are often ill-prepared to make big decisions around marketing tools and technology.
The CMO Council’s report, which is based on interviews with 535 CMO Council members from all regions of the world, also confirms that most CMOs are struggling with “an increasing number of digital marketing solutions, touchpoints and silos of digital data.”
It states that “marketers are in search of a more complete and personalised profile of each customer across all points of digital interaction, as well as a more consistent and predictable experience.”
So the life of the CMO today might include scenarios such as these:
- The Blind Side: The CEO confronts the CMO with anecdotal data, and the CMO cannot find the true facts to make the counterargument.
- The Showdown: Because sales and marketing do not share one view of the customer and sales results, they often get into blame-throwing showdowns about who is responsible for a business problem or shortfall.
- The Quick Fix: This is often limited to some very bland choices, like trying to boost an image or lead-generation problem with a print ad or a few emails—not because they are the right solutions, but because they are what the current marketing ecosystem can generate most quickly.
- The PR Crisis: It can seem overwhelming because it is often hard to pin down how acute or widespread the bad news is. CMOs sometimes overreact to PR crises that look big but are actually very limited in scope. Or worse, they underreact to something that looks small but is actually gathering speed or blazing out of control.
- The CEO Update: This can often feel like a visit to the principal’s office in which the CEO has all the cards, and the CMO doesn’t feel well-armed or prepared to defend the value of marketing.
But there is hope. As the CMO Council, Gartner and IDC report, budgets are on the rise for CMOs, affording CMOs in 2016 a scenario in which they are able to access the correct marketing tools and technologies to deploy effective data-driven marketing strategies and tactics. For instance:
- Data will be used to illuminate, not overwhelm. The use of customised data dashboards will become one of the CMO’s most valuable marketing tools. The dashboard provides only the most relevant data that simplifies, visualises and focuses the CMO’s attention.
- CMOs will have healthier relationships with chief sales officers. No longer about blame-throwing exercises in which the two parties fight for turf with different sets of data, a more collaborative relationship will develop using the same set of marketing metrics to establish one view of the customer. In fact, more than half (51 per cent) of respondents to the CMO Council’s State of Marketing report reveal that they are currently partnering with chief sales officers.
- Data and mobility will enable real-time decision making. Using mobile apps such as social monitoring marketing tools, the CMO has real-time data at his/her fingertips. Apps can be preconfigured to alert and deploy nimble teams to respond to any situation.
- New kinds of talent will emerge to support the CMO’s vision. These include:
- Digital bloodhounds, who can scour the world of search, social and mobile for insights into the “digital body language” of customers and prospects;
- Marketing day traders, or those who think like investment portfolio managers or day traders to determine which channels and segments should be invested in and what allocation mix will yield the greatest return ;
- Content yentas—editors-in-chief who can marry customer intent with content across an array of media, from videos to white papers and deep product specs targeted to the right individual at the right moment in the purchase journey.
- The CMTO will bridge the gap between marketing and IT. The marketing department is a large and growing buying force when it comes to marketing tools and technology, and the CMO Council reports that the link between marketing and IT is growing, with 53 per cent of CMOs forging stronger partnerships with CIOs.
Last year, Gartner famously predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than their CIO counterparts. This trend will drive the emergence of a new type of c-suite executive: The chief marketing technology officer, also known as the chief marketing technologist. This role will be created to be the critical linchpin between marketing and IT. No longer will the CMO alone be called upon to make large and important decisions regarding marketing tools and technology, and the pressure will be off the overburdened enterprise CIO.
Importance of always-on marketing: Only 13 per cent of businesses are able to effectively target customer segments and measure results.
In the July/August 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review, Scott Brinker and Lara McLellan stated that the best CMTOs “set a technology vision for marketing. They champion greater experimentation and more-agile management…they are change agents, working within the function and across the company to create competitive advantage”.
Gartner projects that by 2016, 89 per cent of large companies will have a CMTO. The research firm advises that these organisations “are generally ahead of their peers in digital marketing maturity and experimentation.”
The role of the CMO in 2016 is vastly improved thanks to the right marketing tools, technologies, partnerships and resources that will enable the fast and collaborative implementation of data-driven marketing solutions. The future of marketing is bright.
6 key roles for smart CMOs
- Customer experience tzar
- Content conductor
- Sales enablement
- Chief marketing technologist
- Marketing thought leader
- Utility player
About the author Brian Fetherstonaugh is currently Chairman and CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide. In the past 25 years, he has worked hands-on with many of the world’s leading brands, including IBM, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, IKEA, Unilever and Nestlé.
He began his career in brand management with Procter & Gamble Canada. He then joined the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather and rose up through the ranks to become president of its Canadian operations. He later founded and became the first Chairman of Ogilvy’s Global Brand Community, representing the agency’s top 20 international clients, and was appointed to the Ogilvy Executive Committee in 2002.
Today, he leads OgilvyOne Worldwide, the customer engagement arm of Ogilvy & Mather. With more than 5000 staff in 50 countries, OgilvyOne is at the forefront of the digital revolution. sellorelse.ogilvy.com.
This article originally appeared in the CMO Council's Peersphere magazine, February 2015.