Friday, April 4, 2014

Today's CMO's matter only if they don't behave like yesterday's CMO's.

Editor's note: Yes, I know I just posted a few days ago that I won't have as much time as I used to have to write on my own blog. And here I am, only a few days later with a post. Let's just say that the writing bug hit me after going through a couple of documents in my inbox.

Over the last few months, a couple of reports were released that highlight the challenges the modern CMO faces. Yeah, how is that even news?

The fact that the CMO role is profoundly changing and will continue to change isn't really news. But what these studies provide is a unique multi-faceted prism outlining the kinds of changes and pressures that are pulling the CMO in all kinds of directions.

Let’s review.

For the purpose of this post (and so you don’t have to read them), we have used the following reports:

  1. IBM’s Stepping up to the challenge – CMO Insight study
  2. Adobe’s CMO Impact study
  3. Immediate Future’s In the Social Moment study
  4. Forrester’s Create a Connected Communications Plan for the Post-Digital Era

If you look at the titles of these white-papers you can already see the changed CMO world. Most strikingly, there weren’t any white-papers on how to spend more media on TV advertising (easy: just buy the same as last year, you’ll end up paying more this year, guaranteed!).

We’ll start at the top, which is where IBM likes to operate. They have taken stock of the role the CMO has within the overall organization, and how much impact the CMO role has on business results. What they have found is that there are three different kinds of CMO’s: Digital Pacesetters, Social Strategists and Traditionalists.
Although by a relative small margin, the Digital Pacesetters are the smallest group. They are however per this study the group that help their companies fare financially better, suggesting that the other two groups are delivering far less financial value to the overall organization.
The overall priorities of the CMO have not changed much between 2011 and 2013. I am very happy that measuring digital ROI is more important than social media monitoring. This means that the equivalent of “having a lot of GRP’s” is now deemed less important than knowing if that actually matters or built your business. There is hope yet!

Adobe’s CMO.Com study obviously preaches somewhat to the choir. But it does help in providing insight across nine overall learnings that outline what the CMO of today is supposed to deliver in terms of value and contribution. In line with IBM, Adobe also shows that a potent CMO and marketing as a whole matter to the bottom line. Yay!

They also demonstrate that tenure and experience matter – and experience in actually doing stuff, rather than managing stuff. Two components are highlighted as critical to be successful: setting and aligning around simple and clear expectations and being in a company that believes that marketing matters. This last one is almost a no-brainer, but there are many companies I have witnessed that say that marketing and brand building matters, but in a pinch always favor any other C-suite member over the CMO.

Both IBM's and Adobe’s studies highlight the importance of understanding the consumer as job number 1. Adobe suggests that if a firm is not consumer focused, it is likely that a CMO and marketing as a whole will not be successful. IBM shows that companies with a deep understanding of their consumers are 60% more likely to outperform their peers financially.

Obviously we know that the pace of technological acceptance is moving at lightning pace. Mobile and connected devices are in everyone’s pocket in almost every market worldwide. IBM shows that Digital Pacesetters have made significant headway in integrating all these new opportunities into a cohesive Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy.
Take one of the current buzz-words: “Real Time Marketing”. Yes, it is an overused term, and my “Z.E.R.O., zero paid media as the new marketing model” co-author Joseph Jaffe likes to quip “There is no real time marketing. Just do it faster”.

But fact is that, according to the study by Immediate Future (I.F.), there is real value in Real Time. They report 76% increased engagement through a timely effort, and a 35% increased customer retention and loyalty score. That should make it worth something. Like time allocated by the CMO to Real Time Marketing efforts.

Earlier this year I provided my insights as one of 17 contributors to a Forrester study called “Create a Connected Communications Plans for the Post-Digital Era”. In it, the contributors clearly echo the IBM findings, stating among many other success criteria:

  • that TV isn't and shouldn't be the marketing plan starting point nor should it be what I call the scaffolding that holds the whole plan up.
  • that the organizational silo’s within the marketing department, and between the marketing department and other critical departments such as Sales/Trade Marketing, Finance, Corporate Communications and others are structures that may make organizational sense, but are hurdles to an integrated consumer brand experience.
  • that consumers should dictate the connection plan.
  • Etcetera, etcetera. If you read “Z.E.R.O.” you will find a ten point action plan that will basically get you future proof to deliver all of this.
And all of that is to just get a plan. We haven’t even spoken about what we expect from a CMO once the plan is active, or what needs to happen in order to have the right partners to execute and deliver the plan.

So we can safely conclude that in order for the organization to be successful you shouldn't and can't afford to rely on a CMO adept at 1990's marketing. We can also safely say that marketing matters, that an enlightened CMO delivers a lot more value to the company that employ’s him/her than a company with a traditional CMO. And that the time to get (or, if you are a CMO, evolve yourself into) one of these types of CMO’s is now. Wait and you’ll do significant damage to your company and its stakeholders.

How does Joseph Jaffe put it again? “How do you kill a dinosaur? You don’t, evolution does.”

No comments:

Post a Comment