CMOs gain more revenue responsibility but still struggling to own customer conversion

Fresh research from Salesforce and Deloitte finds CMOs have more responsibility for revenue growth and are making data acquisition their top priority in 2014

Fresh research has found nearly two-thirds of chief marketing officers have greater responsibility for revenue growth, even as they continue to struggle to own the end-to-end customer conversion path.

According to the new survey from Deloitte and Salesforce, entitled Bridging the Digital Divide: How CMOs Can Rise to Meet Five Expanding Expectations, 61 per cent of CMOs have more responsibility for revenue growth than they did last year, while the same percentage are also making data acquisition their top priority in 2014.

Digital’s impact continues to dominate conversations as well. Fifty-three per cent said that with the growth of digital marketing, their team’s responsibilities include a greater focus on enabling revenue growth.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents said growth of digital marketing has led to the need for more qualified data and analytics personnel, and 38 per cent have a larger technology budget this year to keep pace with the growth of digital marketing.

Despite the increased role of digital, 32 per cent admitted they felt the least prepared around adding personnel with data and analytics knowledge to their teams.

The role of the CMO has expanded from brand steward to customer champion, commented Deloitte Consulting director, Frances Yu.

“CMOs play a key role in driving revenue growth. And, to deliver on those growth expectations, CMOs should chart their own path to provide answers to changing consumer demands, new channel adoption, upgrading technology strategies and marketing talent challenges,” he said.

One of the big challenges they face internally is process and organisational ownership. Twenty-seven per cent of CMOs surveyed said they have increased ownership to align internal functions, such as products and sales, to deliver customer impact. Yet many still don’t entirely own the conversion path, the report authors stated.

Just over one-third also named an increased role in customer service as an area where the growth of digital marketing has challenged their teams. Yet 23 per cent don’t feel adequately prepared to address this increased role.

“Marketing may be signing up for big numbers, but the customer purchase journey is splintered across product, sales and service,” the report authors commented. “That’s why CMOs who agree to a revenue target should verify a clear path of conversion with the rest of the c-suite.”

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In terms of internal marketing objectives, 59 per cent of CMOs nominated flexible and agile marketing processes as the top area of focus, and 50 per cent will shortly implement personalisation strategies. At present, just 16 per cent said they use Web personalisation frequently today, yet another sign of just how far marketers still have to go to actually make personalisation a reality.

Based on the research, Salesforce and Deloitte outlined five expectations for CMOs to meet:

  1. Take on top-line growth
  2. Own the customer experience
  3. Dig in to data-based insights
  4. Operate in real time
  5. Master the metrics that matter

The research was based on an online survey of 228 global marketing leaders between October and December 2013. Of these, 42 per cent work for companies with more than US$1 billion in revenue.

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