What is the Biggest Challenge that CMOs Face?
I was sitting with a CMO the other day and I told him, ‘Your job must be pretty tough now. It seems Marketing has changed a lot.’
The CMO almost fell from his chair, laughing.
‘Change! You call this Change! It’s a radical, seismic shift.’ He said.
‘Technologies from AI and machine learning to mobile messaging and live content have reshaped how consumers connect, share, shop and make decisions. The breadth and rate of change has made Marketers like us to scratch our heads, while we try to keep pace.’ the CMO explained.
The reality is that all this change has created both incredible opportunity and pressure for CMOs.
To have staying power today, CMOs must be nimble—constantly adjusting their marketing strategy and execution to accommodate advances in technology and shifting customer preferences. There are 3 major head winds that CMOs must face:
- How to leverage AI to build optimize their marketing efforts
- Why giving consumers input on their brand and products is mutually beneficial
- The critical role of platforms like augmented and virtual reality in building close connections with customers
All 3 are critical factors and brands that are able to figure out how to overcome these 3 challenges will have a major advantage over their competitors. The trouble is that most CMOs trust their agencies to head them in the direction. Most agencies are clueless about anything outside their immediate services and often we see the phenomenon of the blind leading the blind.
An Even Bigger Challenge Awaits CMOs
If you thought the above 3 headwinds are the major challenges that the CMOs face, you are in for a rude awakening. There is a fourth issue cropping up and it’s even more difficult to face.
Today customer experience is the new brand and winning requires data– the more the better. And yet, identifying the right data to model, predict, and improve performance across all touch points is one of the toughest challenges facing CMOs and marketers today.
Agencies were not equipped to guide and lead transformation at the enterprise level and big consultancies lacked the on-the-ground approach needed to bring about effective, lasting change.
The reality is the touchpoints with customers are constantly changing, as are their decision journeys – many times faster than companies can react. Our role as a marketer today isn’t just about telling brand stories that resonate, but what data is telling us about the customer experience, where it’s working (or not) and how we can effectively change to demonstrate ROI on our investment.
Brand storytelling and content has never been more important, but the reality is marketing has changed. Marketers now have to understand where to tell brand stories across mediums and how customers interact with brand content through predictive data.
In addition to delivering timely, relevant content, marketers need to move upstream to improve the product experience in partnership with Engineering, Operations and IT, and be accountable for the overall customer conversion in partnership with sales.
We can no longer afford to be looking at backward facing operational data or vanity metrics around how marketing is performing. We’ve got to get into the actual signal of what’s happening in the marketplace, and begin studying what can we learn from it and how it will impact and redirect what we do. We need to think much more about leading indicators to revenue performance vs. lagging indicators and over reliance on vanity metrics.