With the rise of data-driven marketing, many are left wondering if there is any value left in being a creative marketing leader.
Today’s marketers will need to tap into the most creative parts of their brain, and listen to their team’s best ideas.
By marrying data with creativity, marketing executives can lead their teams to innovate better and deliver more creative, compelling content and experiences, to engage customers more deeply and drive better business outcomes.
So what traits do these successful creative marketing leaders possess? CMO.com interviewed marketing executives across industries and identified these qualities as the top attributes a creative CMO must have to succeed in 2016 and beyond.
- The Creative CMO Is Empathetic
Today’s best CMOs are empathetic and customer-centric. They actively listen and try to understand the customer’s needs, wants and the pain points that are keeping them up at night. And the best CMOs represent and stand for the customer’s voice at the executive table.
As the Forrester VP and principal analyst James McQuivey says, those who build their company’s brand have a deeper understanding of their customers, and they are the ones who can best bring those customers to life.
- The Creative CMO Builds An Amazing Team
Marketing is an ever-changing discipline. The best CMOs know that they won’t have all the skills they need to run their marketing teams. And what they will do is building and surrounding themselves with experts who can fill their skill gaps. They will also adapt their leadership styles to engage and inspire this diverse team to perform at their best.
- The Creative CMO Embraces Data
More ever than before, it’s becoming harder and harder to get the consumer’s attention today. Creativity can help brands to break through the noise and stand out from their competitors, but it needs to be informed by data to unleash its full potential.
The best CMOs will creatively leverage all the data at their disposal to drive more informed, strategic decisions around how they can connect the right message to the right person at the right place and time, with creative, relevant content that will make a lasting impression on their customers.
- The Creative CMO Measures Impact
Leading CMOs not only approach data creatively, but they also measure their creative success through the data and insights they have. They also think creatively about the metrics they use to measure marketing success.
As the Spredfast’s CMO Jim Rudden says, marketing is in “a period when many of the traditional measures that marketers have used are being questioned,” so creative CMOs must be able to strategically navigate between these different systems of measure and find the most effective way to demonstrate marketing’s impact on the business.
Creative campaigns, like content marketing, are long-term investments, so their impact may not be seen immediately. The best CMOs must be able to predict which campaigns will deliver the best long-term value, get buy-in, and partner with other organizations across the business to successfully drive their marketing efforts.
- The Creative CMO Is A Scientist Who Encourages Innovation
Creative CMOs are not afraid to experiment and take smart risks. They analyze the performance data they have, develop hypotheses and test them, to continuously improve their marketing efforts and results.
The best CMOs are great at spotting opportunities for innovation and growth, and encourage their teams to do so by giving them the space for experimentation, even if it means failing on some occasions.
- The Creative CMO Is Agile
Agile principles are not limited to software development only, but can and should be applied to marketing planning and execution. Creative CMOs must be able to think big and move fast on opportunities that will help differentiate their brand from their competitors.
- The Creative CMO Is Resourceful
Most CMOs are expected to lead and run their organizations as a profit center. What this means is that creative CMOs must be able to work creatively with their limited budget and resources and find out-of-box tactics to achieve their marketing objectives.
An example of this would be leveraging other functions to gain new insights, review strategies and plans, and engage and collaborate on marketing efforts end-to-end.
- The Creative CMO Is Collaborative
As the latest research from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and GfK has found, successful marketers must cultivate close relationships with other functions in order to achieve their marketing objectives and drive growth for the business.
Similarly, creative CMOs must build solid relationships with their C-suite peers, collaborate and leverage the talent and skill sets they have across the organization to grow the business together.
- The Creative CMO Challenges The Status Quo
Great CMOs question why things are done in a certain way in the past, and they are not bound by these conventions and rules if there is a better way to do something.
- The Creative CMO Is A Great Storyteller
As the CEO of Prezi Peter Arvai says, “data alone can’t tell a story.” A creative CMO knows how to strategically bring the data to life through content that connects with consumers on an emotional level, to create a deeper, more engaging relationship with them.
Great CMOs also have a remarkable aptitude to pull together the right marketers and storytellers to deliver a unique and highly personalized customer experience for their target audience, with compelling content that resonates and differentiates their brand.
- The Creative CMO Gets Stuff Done
Creative CMOs are great at coming up with lots of new ideas based on the data they have. But they also need to know when there’s enough data and ideas to take action, and when they need to dig a bit more before making a decision. They must also be able to channel their creativity in a disciplined way that drives business results.
What do you think? What other traits and attributes would you add to this list? Which one of these are you personally working on as a marketer? I’d love to hear your ideas, so please share them below!
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