Predictions 2018: 5 ways the CMO role will change

Marketing analysts and technology predict what the changing role of the chief marketing officer will look like in 2018

The customer-obsessed CMO

As customer behaviour continues to adapt with the advent of voice-based interaction, Forrester predicts an even more complex customer matrix will form, requiring harmonisation of existing experiences with intelligent agents like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. This will position the CMO who drives ‘customer obsessed’ transformations at the forefront of innovative growth.

“CMOs will turn this into an opportunity to remould their organisation to be customer obsessed, prioritising talent that can conceptualise innovation and growth, and farming execution-oriented specialist work out to partners,” Barnes says.

Experts agree this means CMOs must focus on a strategic, organisational and technological mindset guided by empathy for a customer who will absolutely demand this level of intention in 2018. 

“CMOs are now the ultimate guardians of a deep understanding of their customers, sometimes more than the CEO,” Publicis Media A/NZ CEO, Matt James, says. “The responsibility to extract organic revenues from existing customers and understand where to drive demand for new growth has become a complex task.”

For Malwarebytes APAC marketing director, Leslie Beckman, providing great customer experience in 2018 remains fundamentally based on consistency across all touchpoints - whether that be online, in person, via influencers or in product/service use.

“Customers will not even differentiate if their experience is as a consumer or a business,” she notes. “While this sounds obvious, it can be challenging to the organisation that manages each of these areas in different departments, with different metrics for success. Superb CX comes when consistent messaging is driven from the top and celebrated across the organisation with excellent communication and collaboration.”

According to LogRhythm senior regional marketing director for APAC and Japan, Joanne Wong, every CMO’s goal is to create seamless, synchronised and customer-centric experiences for their audiences across all channels and touchpoints. 2018 will only heighten that responsibility.

More importantly, CMOs want to maintain access, control and accountability of these touchpoints,” she says. “I think bringing madtech [convergence of martech and adtech] in-house allows for that. CMOs on this path will not only drive cost efficiencies for their organisation, they will have full control over the customer data for personalisation and analytics throughout the full customer journey.”

Pressure to be transformative and agile

According to Forrester, not only are CMOs now in control of the fastest growing technology budget, the demand for a superior CX and brand relationships has also added the burden of maintaining more emotion-rich connections with customers, while driving digital transformation and agility.   

“For 2018, we’ll also see CMOs growing increasingly frustrated with the timeframes and inertia implicit in ‘digital transformations’ and become more attuned to buying sharp episodic ‘value events’ that meet their needs for rapid, provable value,” DPR & Co Agency principal and founder, Phil Huzzard, says. “This, in turn, suggests rising interest in agile agencies capable of blurring the lines between themselves and the client through innovative models such as HiHo [half-in, half out], where agencies become part of the client during periods of high activity.”

Read more: Rolling out agile marketing at Deakin

Read more: 7 ways to run your marketing department like a software startup

Tibco marketing director for APAC and Japan, Alan Ho, stresses digitisation will signal further pressure on CMOs to break down silos and propagate digital transformation.

“Digitalisation, mobility, and IoT have transformed the way we understand our customers while, at the same time, marketers are being challenged by the speed of change,” he says.  “Ultimately, marketers will need to move away from operating in a silo, propagate the value of digital transformation across the business and then lead digital transformation initiatives in an organisation to drive customer experience.”

In 2018, the most successful CMOs will recognise and work around the fact that fixed scopes of work won’t work and will only become more ineffective in 2018, digital agency Butterfly’s CEO, Liz McLean, believes.

“Agile ways of working, managing teams, upskilling, and developing budgets will enable organisations to truly innovate and deliver services that meet customers’ needs as they also change – CMOs that are constrained to set budgets from the start will only limit the impact and value their activities will be able to deliver,” she says.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

 

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