Today’s marketing leaders are stuck in a Catch-22. Create CMO-driven revenue growth. And figure out how to do it in a way that we modern consumers don’t hate.
What was once the role of the Chief Marketing Officer has been completely cast aside. We have gone from “brand ambassadors” asking agencies to create hard-to-measure ad campaigns, to Big Data savvy, Smart Analytic, TEDTalking, Omni-Channel wizards.
We are all still reeling from this rebirth, trying to make sense of the numbers, the potential, the new tools – and the greater expectations of CMO Revenue Growth.
It seems that not only has the process of marketing changed, but how upper management views the job has transformed just as quickly.
Let’s get to the math:
- The majority of CEOs today – nearly 70% – believe that CMOs should be leading revenue growth.
- More than half of this majority group go so far as to name revenue growth as the primary mandate of marketing.
- Another 23% are on the fence, feeling that to some degree, marketing should be measured by revenue performance.
This is all according to a report that was co-written by the CMO Council and the consulting agency, Deloitte.
Greater Marketing Responsibility
On one hand, this puts a lot of pressure on marketers to focus on data and using new technologies to ensure they are getting solid results from their marketing campaigns.
It also forces CMOs to become deeply aware of the customer experience. So our business is able to meet the customer at the omni-channel level. A difficult task as the customer experience is evolving as fast as digital technologies and trends are changing.
The key to success is in being able to undergo a constant process of not just keeping up, but of staying ahead – even delivering what the customer wants before they even know they want it.
Even though this is true, only a small fraction of CMOs (8%) are successfully reviewing, auditing, and actively improving the way their brand interacts with their customer.
We do the easy stuff: We buy ads. We splash our logo on a stadium, or a bus, or a golfers hat. We buy clicks on Facebook and Google. And then we high-five ourselves . . .
This gives leading marketers an advantage. Those of us who understand our buyers better than our best friend. Who initiate predictive engagements. And who are capable of utilizing data and new technology to improve our customers’ lives. (If this isn’t your mission, go home my friend! This Marketing thing ain’t for you.)
As an example, think of REI’s seamless integration of mobile and in-store shopping. Or the Starbucks reward card (LOVE), which can be reloaded by phone, website, in-store, or through the app, with all channels being updated in real-time.
This means that I can load funds onto their card while waiting in line to order my coffee and the cashier will see the update when the purchase is made – giving us Starbucks coffee drinkers the convenience that we have come to expect along with our burnt caffeine.
…And Greater Marketing Power
Viewed from another angle, this evolution of the CMO gives us more power. We are are driving real businesses results through the wealth of tools at our fingertips.
From educating consumers through informative blog posts, and attracting leads with expert SEO tactics, to connecting with customers through social media, and solving their problems through mobile apps – digital marketing offers marketers more ways to reach and engage with customers, and drive actual sales.
This is the central reason that CEOs expect more from today’s CMOs. Marketing leaders are capable of doing more as a result of the digital era.
Marketers can learn more about customers through data, make better decisions, and direct businesses along the most strategic paths in order to seek revenue growth.
This also makes it more important than ever before for marketing teams to spend more time working with executive management to help build business strategies. Right now, only 16 percent of CMOs are doing this effectively.
The most successful teams are those that not only fully embrace digital strategies, but who are able to connect marketing with the entire organization.
Marketers have access to more insights about customer behaviors and market trends than ever before. Ian Ewart, Head of Products, Services, and Marketing at Coutts notes that “if marketing is not driving the change agenda than either the agenda is wrong or the marketing is not being effective.”
Budgets Have Evolved as Well
The other elephant in the room that has contributed towards the way leadership views the role of marketing comes down to practicality. When the global recession occurred, and then dragged on, budgets had to be reduced.
We have been forced to find more intelligent ways to engage customers and to boost sales. Gone are the days of spending mega bucks on ridiculous ad campaigns and reporting on impressions.
These phenomena coincided with consumers becoming savvier in how we choose to spend our time and incomes.
The solution has been for marketers to focus more on their ROI, having to spend more energy examining the impact of each marketing dollar, and to utilize technology to create more effective, and often less expensive, programs.
The Secret To CMO Revenue Growth
We Marketers will always be a creative bunch. Even with the greater pressure to create revenue growth, that doesn’t mean that those creative strengths are any less important than they ever were.
Liz Miller from the CMO Council explains how stepping up to the reality faced by CMOs today is more about evolving than letting go of the true heart of marketing,
“…our storytelling is now being applied in very different ways, such as translating the voice of the customer so we can shape the brand to resemble the values of our most profitable customers,” she says.
Focusing on customers = more profitable marketing outcomes.
With this modern approach, CMOs are more than capable than ever of driving revenue growth.
The expectations are more dynamic today and yes, the pressure is on to produce results. For marketers who can apply their creativity, driving growth should be a piece of cake.
Or, you can shop creative to an agency, buy some clicks, present all the impressions and reach you achieved. And watch the world pass you by.
Marketers need to speak truth to power. Put in the hard work of asking for the time it takes to build a customer-focused brand, and support it with business results the CEO wants to see…Or what?