With the evolving nature of the marketplace, the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is quickly transforming and becoming one of the most strategic functions in most organizations.
As a result, the skill set required of the CMO and the marketing team is also changing rapidly. Once responsible mainly for market research, corporate brand management and advertising, the CMO now has additional complex responsibilities that extend far beyond traditional marketing — including technology (digital marketing), analytics, customer experience expertise, and content.
According to Bill Lee, founder of the Center for Customer Engagement in an interview with CMO.com: “CMOs today have a real opportunity to get a competitive jump by organizing more forcefully around today’s buyer—who is changing rapidly. It’s arguably the most important trend in marketing.”
The customer leads the way
With digital disruption and an ongoing increase in Internet and social media usage, consumers now have almost all the information they need at their fingertips. In fact, research shows that the majority of customers engage in online research and brand comparison before they commit to a specific product or service — even (and often especially) in the world of business to business (B2B) — and continue to use online platforms at multiple points across their buyer journey.
This has far reaching effects on the marketplace, and businesses are being forced to adapt their marketing strategy accordingly. Instead of interruptive marketing fighting for a customer's attention and money, twenty-first century businesses need to focus on both offline and online marketing to attract potential customers, increase sales and maintain an ongoing relationship with their customers.
Expanding the CMO’s Role
These changes to customer behavior, as well as the ability of companies to reach a more diverse and global customer base, have led to an expansion or even a complete redefinition of the CMO’s role, in both B2C and B2B marketing.
As advocators for customers — or the “voice of the customer” —CMOs will need to lead changes across companies. This involves playing a more active role in areas such as global branding strategy and public profile, product development, leading the move from a product-centric to a customer-centric model, content planning and generation, digital media, and more.