What does the CMO of 2017 look like?

Andrew Haussegger

Andrew co-founded Green Hat, a digital marketing agency devoted to B2B. Over the last five years, he has focused on customer lifecycle and digital marketing for the ‘considered’ buying process. He developed the 3C3P Lifecycle Marketing & Automation Program methodology – an approach for inbound and content marketing that has been adopted by blue-chip clients including IBM, EMC, Mercer and Konica Minolta. Andrew regularly speaks on the conference circuit and is co-author of the annual B2B Marketing Outlook Report. He is also a member of the ADMA B2B Expert Group.

As nominations for this year's CMO50 list of Australia's most innovative marketers close, leading B2B commentator and marketer, and CMO50 2016 judge, Andrew Haussegger, looks at what it takes to succeed as a modern marketing leader.

The marketing landscape continues to evolve, and leading marketers are working hard to ride the wave. So what does it take to stand out from the pack?

In my experience, here are the qualities that the chief marketing officer of 2017 needs to possess if they are to thrive.

Customer champions

Great CMOs champion the customer at every opportunity. They understand that creating thrilled customers via one-to-one personalised experience is the pathway to growth and loyalty.

Being customer first also means they know their audience intimately and have overseen the collaborative development of personas and segmentation with related brand value and messaging.

Enthusiastic technologist

CMOs embrace the role of technology, automation and data for success, and build a first-class analytics and technology team.

Best practice marketers have a mature approach to smart systems and are working to integrate holistically for themselves and their customers. They are automating for scale and intelligence, and applying the human touch where it matters most.

Value obsessed

World-class CMOs are fanatical about measurement and attribution. They ensure the work of marketing is counted in a way that offers meaningful insights and indisputably highlights the value of the work.

These leaders contribute measurably to the revenue result of the business (and become indispensable because of it).

Aligned with sales

A CMO should consider themselves part of the sales team, and do all they can to embed that extended thinking across both areas of the business.

Their work should empower sales with rich lead information and personalised content marketing. They need to be leading and facilitating regular conversations about mapping the value chain for sales, and understanding what precisely constitutes qualified leads.

Habitual innovator

The successful CMO of 2017 has cultivated the capacity to strategically disrupt their organisation’s processes and people. Innovation is front of mind externally and internally, and they have built a practice of piloting new ideas in low-cost, lean ways.

Leading CMOs don’t settle for the same thing because it’s a habit. They embrace the new, take calculated risks, and test and learn with an energetic curiosity.

Future focused

This goes hand-in-hand with innovation. Top CMOs always have an eye on what’s coming next.

Whether it’s new tools, new channels, social trends, or something we haven’t conceived yet, marketers need to perch on the cutting edge and consistently consider how it impacts their strategies and practices. Where are the next growth areas? How does the business need to diversify to protect its current marketing investments?

Transparent and open

Marketing has never been more measureable or demonstrable. A great CMO is proactive about sharing successes and losses with their organisation, to enable better results from all. They support learning ‘out loud’.

They create and circulate insights that add value. They empower voices from all across the organisation to have a voice in the market, and arm them with useful tools to do so constructively.

Lead from within

The age of helicopter management is on the way out. Top marketing leaders engage their people in a vision and coach them toward shared success from within the team itself.

They are the strategic conductor of an orchestra of skilled content, data, digital, tech and creative performers, but they’re never the star. They’re adept at applying the right combinations and networks of skills and passions to the challenge at hand. And they’re equally passionate about constructive communication internally as to the wider world.

Tags: CMO role, marketing strategy, Leadership and Management

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