Welcome to the era of CMO 2.0

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Forget the marketers from Mad Men. Today’s generation of chief marketing officers (CMOs) face far bigger roles and much greater expectations, according to a new report from Deloitte entitled “CMO 2.0 takes charge – How chief marketing officers will succeed in the omnichannel era.”

CMO 2.0: Challenge is Complex, Opportunity is Simple

Businesses today are far more consumer-centric than during any other time in history. Consumers have a great deal of influence and power over brands. Their behaviors and expectations can very much sway businesses and how they operate. This is why companies have invested an immense sum of their budgets into data analytics, omnichannel offerings and technology to meet their demands and understand what they want.

The overall brand experience is what drives the consumers’ attention, loyalty and wallet. This is where CMOs enter the picture. If a CMO today can attain the acumen, talent and capabilities to boost customer acquisition endeavors then they will flourish in a modern day marketing industry.

In other words, a CMO must prove to the C-suite that marketing is not just a matter of cost but rather a “strategic contributor to the bottom line.”

It’s Not Just Advertising & Marketing

Research shows that an overwhelming majority (86 percent) of CMOs believe the world of marketing has radically changed. And no longer are CMOs just responsible for advertising and marketing efforts. They’re at the forefront of the firm’s initiative to engage with customers and provide an astounding brand experience.

Simply put: it’s no longer about constructing sizeable brand awareness. CMOs are required to utilize analytics to seep into the consciousness of the customer and find out how the business can add to a better experience for them.

Look at how today’s crop of CMOs must have skills in analytics, technology and converting data into insights.

At the same time, CMOs need to make sure marketing is increasing business growth, revenues and a measurable return on investment. Marketing has essentially become a business within a business, and CMOs need to manage it as such.

Collaborate With a Diverse Group of Experts

The CMO 2.0 isn’t an executive who was manufactured out of a business school and learned the industry by climbing through the ranks of marketing departments and ad agencies. The CMO of today needs to have a strong understanding of how to work with a large and diverse group of professionals in their own niche.

New CMOs will collaborate with both art directors and engineers, graphic designers and chief financial officers (CFOs) with the same level of ease. A CMO will have to wear multiple hats, and this talent will help the CMO be strategically agile and assist in finding the solution to intricate organization issues.

“The CMO needs to be able to adapt to such changes quickly and make real-time decisions in response. In many cases, s/he will reach out to external advisors for help,” Deloitte said in the report. “Forty percent of CMOs plan to rely more heavily on external support for analytics and other needs in coming years.”

Collaboration breeds success.

The Return of Soft Skills

Despite tepid employment growth in the U.S., there is actually a strong demand for various positions, and CMOs are trying to acquire some of these talents. Data analysts and data scientists are in very high demand in an array of industries, particularly in the marketing business.

A CMO will have to have soft skills abilities to grab these skilled professionals.

With the makeup of the worker changing, a data scientist may be apprehensive about signing with a company; they may instead want to freelance their expertise. This is where a CMO must apply his or her expertise of attracting, engaging and retaining the top talent.

Moreover, CMOs should think about how to overcome the cultural challenges of merging these new analytical experts with the established “creatives” currently integrated in the company.

“CMOs will need to establish a network of trusted external service providers and independent players that can, together, provide the skills and knowledge needed when required,” Deloitte said in the report.

Self-Reliance is Imperative

In many circumstances, CMOs have usually hired agencies to deliver what they need, whether it’s certain skills or resources. In fact, Deloitte finds that two-thirds of CMOs believe agencies can deliver what they need, though a growing number are finding these agencies to be inadequate.

Perhaps this was the case several years ago, but today CMOs have to maintain a high level of independence. They need to conjure up ideas and solutions without the aid of an outsider.

CMOs need to be self-reliant whether it’s relating to data analytics or marketing schemes. The CMO 2.0 will depend on herself, the internal teams or alternative resources within the company to analyze new data or pursue a new objective out of the blue.

Final Thoughts

Late last year, Gartner published the results of its “CMO Spend Report,” in which it found that there are two priorities for companies: improving customer innovation and enhancing marketing investments. Most companies are increasing their marketing budgets, reinvesting their marketing budgets into digital marketing efforts and including infrastructure and software as part of marketing.

This is clear evidence that CMOs are taking on new and more lucrative responsibilities when compared to just 20 years ago. For those CMOs who have been in the industry for at least 30 years, it’s time to adapt to the changing times. For those just embarking upon the role of a CMO, it’s quite likely that you’re already accustomed to the evolving marketing landscape.

Yesterday’s CMO focused on brand, advertising and marketing. Today’s CMO specializes in revenue growth, strategic agility and operations management.

Photo of Salesforce CMO Lynn Vojvodich via Flickr

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Andrew Moran

Andrew Moran is a full-time professional writer and journalist, who covers the areas of business, economics and personal finance. He has contributed to Benzinga, Capital Liberty News, Career Addict, Money Morning and PFHub.