4 Essential Roles of the Modern CMO

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There’s no question that the corporate marketing function is one of the most strategic functions in the enterprise. And that means the makeup of the marketing teams that leading CMOs must assemble is also undergoing a rapid transformation to keep up with the perpetually evolving industry.

“Marketing is changing quickly, and it’s incumbent on CMOs to adapt to those changes in the teams they build,” said Todd Merry, CMO of global hospitality and food service company Delaware North, in an interview with CMO.com. “We need skill sets previously not required in the marketing suite.”

The skills required of the marketing organization are changing rapidly as well—from deep technology knowledge to customer experience expertise to sales enablement.

That will pose an HR challenge in coming months, but it’s also an occasion for competitive advantage. “CMOs today have a real opportunity to get a competitive jump by organizing more forcefully around today’s buyer who is changing rapidly,” said Bill Lee, founder of the Center for Customer Engagement and author of “The Hidden Wealth Of Customer: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset,” in an interview with CMO.com. “It’s arguably the most important trend in marketing.”

The following are 4 new or evolving roles that those with marketing executive jobs must fill to be competitive in today’s rapidly evolving industry.

1. Master of Customer Experience

Customer experience has been a boardroom buzzword for months. But in 2015 it will become a corporate strategic priority—one that deserves a dedicated marketing executive. “If done well, this executive could be the strategic influencer on a company’s overarching market strategy and positioning,” said Kurt Andersen, CMO of SAVO, a manufacturer of sales software.

A cross between data scientist, customer satisfaction director, and business analyst, the executive in this role employs data to better understand the state of customer experience across channels and the enterprise in order to create meaningful customer experience programs.

“At the senior-executive level, you need a strong executive sponsor who understands the dynamics of the new, empowered buyer and can make sure this integration at the implementation level succeeds, and remains focused on strategic outcomes,” Lee said. “In my experience, if you leave this up to implementation teams or committees, it won’t work.”

In the past, marketing analysts might have simply assumed some of the customer experience responsibility. “But with the availability of so much data these days describing and informing the customer experience, this role requires the chops of data scientists with the understanding of the customer experience and the ability to work with the rest of the marketing team,” said Delaware North’s Merry, whose company serves half a billion customers, from its own destination resorts and national parks to TD Garden and the Kennedy Space Center.

However, this position will be particularly difficult to develop and fill because many companies haven’t yet built the framework for customer advocacy and support, Anderson said.

2. Content Orchestrator

We need a maestro to make a symphony of the cacophony of content that exists today…

Content marketing is hot. And marketing organizations are creating and collecting more content than ever before.

In fact, 86% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but just 38 percent say they’re good at it, according to a 2014 survey by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Similarly the survey found that 77% of B2C marketers are using content marketing tactics, but just 37% claimed their content marketing efforts were effective. Both groups of marketers reported that they were generating more content than the previous year.

While there is no shortage of technology tools to wrangle all that information, what is lacking is a talented professional at the highest level to manage the human side of the content marketing task.

“We need a maestro to make a symphony of the cacophony of content that exists today,” Merry said. “Curation, coordination, distribution, and content standards are just some of what we need.”

3. Head Marketing Technologist

Sure, most marketing groups have a head of CRM or a director of digital marketing. But one of the marketing executive jobs they’ve lacked for some time is a dedicated technologist-in-chief.

“Marketing as an enterprise function has been taking a leading role in the implementation of new technologies that help customers connect with businesses, and allow businesses to better understand the needs of customers,” said Adam Howatson, CMO of information management provider OpenText. “I think it is safe to say that CMOs who ignore technology won’t be CMOs for much longer.”

But the chief marketing technologist must be more than an IT specialist. Those taking on this role must be able to respond rapidly not only to technology changes but also shifting customer expectations, said Michael Cooke, partner with consulting firm Strategy& (part of the PwC network).

“This is the modern-day Atlas who straddles the two worlds of IT and marketing and enables the seamless partnership between the CMO and CIO. We know these two strange bedfellows have been pushed together over the last 15 years, and that successful CMOs must have a bit of CIO in them these days to succeed, but in many cases it can fail at the next level down of the relationship,” said Merry of Delaware North, who will be looking for a chief marketing technologist in the year ahead. “This marketing technologist role bridges the gap on projects, day to day, and can speak both languages.

Hear More about the Rise of Marketing Technologist Role

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4. Marketing Swiss Army Knife

This is less of a single new CMO responsibility and more of an emerging requirement for everyone on the marketing team.

Tena Crock, vice president of e-commerce and digital marketing for toy company Step2, said she would be looking for marketers who are both creative and business savvy. “In the past, these skill sets were often viewed as mutually exclusive, and in today’s world it is very valuable to have them packaged up in the same pro,” Crock told CMO.com. “As teams become more lean, we are looking for people who are able to pinch hit in several areas and who are able to be decisive without being told exactly what to do. Basically we need someone who can think beyond the decision point to how and where it could impact other areas, processes, or profits.”

The best way to fill positions that require both mind-sets, said Einat Weiss, head of global marketing for contact center software maker NICE Systems. is to identify talent within the organization who has a passion for marketing and a background in product-oriented roles..

We need someone who can think beyond the decision point to how and where it could impact other areas, processes, or profits…

The marketing organization of 2015 needs what Fleit calls the “learning agile.”

“You need specialists in marketing—like content marketers, social media experts, and search engine optimizers—but you need those people to be able to reinvent themselves as the environment changes,” said Fleit, who has worked in marketing roles for such consumer product companies as Revlon, Guerlain, and Christian Dior for 20 years. “They’ll need to evolve into broader leaders, and not everyone else can do that.”

CMOs should identify their high potential employees and create clear development plans for them. That said, CMOs will still need specialists. But everyone “plays zone, not man-to-man. Every team member must understand and be capable of participating in every area of marketing,” Merry added. “More and more CMOs are being asked to do with more, and that means our teams must be more capable.”

Source: CMO.com

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