The Evolving Role of the CMO (And All Marketers): Five Guiding Principles

The role of marketing has undoubtedly evolved, as has the customer experience. Drawing on the dotted line is just the beginning now. Companies that understand that tomorrow’s customers care more about travel will be at the top of the list.

As a result, marketing directors (CMOs) are forced to have a whole new set of skills in their toolkit – namely, the ability to take on multiple roles at the same time.

It’s about acting as a CFO to be strategic about when and where to invest your marketing budget for optimal ROI, to act as a product developer to ensure the solution meets customers’ evolving technical needs, and to facilitate sales integration experienced to ensure marketing leads through the funnel.

The good news is that, as in any profession and area of   thought, there are guiding principles to navigate…

  1. Know your client

The best CMOS first asks simple but fundamental questions: who are our customers? How do they buy? Why do they want to buy from us? The answers to these questions will help lay the foundation for the most effective CMOs – an in-depth understanding of the ideal customer journey, depending on the type of customer.

With this knowledge, the CMO and marketing team can make informed decisions about whom to target, with what content, how, how often, and in what order.

The customer journey can range from very simple and linear to very advanced and multi-layered. When the version is listed by customer segment and type, the whole exercise can get complicated.

  1. Choose the right technology

There are literally thousands of technology providers serving all aspects of the marketing function. These include paid search and advertising, media reporting and content management systems; marketing automation platforms; analysis of the customer’s journey … the list goes on.

Choosing the right mix of technologies is critical to the success of the CMO and the task of delivering ROI results to the rest of the higher echelons. Having a thorough knowledge of many of these technologies, and often only minor differences in functionality is essential. Making the wrong decision can be costly: many technology providers require minimum maturities or multi-year contracts, and unwanted costs will quickly erode the positive ROI.

  1. Assemble a team of athletes

Marketing as a functional area is the decathlon of business; no other area in a company has such a variety of skills, ranging from highly analytical (left brain) to ultra-creative (right brain). CMOS must have an in-depth knowledge of an ever-increasing variety of disciplines or be trained to intelligently and effectively guide and assist the managers of the marketing team.

The secret is to hire the right people for every position. People are a CMO’s most valuable asset. Hiring the wrong person can again undermine the effectiveness of the marketing organization, and it can be a very costly mistake. Only hire if you are 100% confident that the person needs the necessary expertise for a job.

The level of specialization required may vary depending on the SSM strategy. For example, if PR is a critical part of the overall strategy, it is critical to appoint an experienced and highly qualified media relations specialist. If a business relies heavily on its website as a source of demand, it is preferable to have a deeply technical and creative team.

Whatever the goal, make sure your people’s resources fit your marketing strategy and hire only the best talent you can attract.

  1. Develop your GTM manual

Determining how to enter the market involves making critical decisions about the target market segments, ideal customer profiles, and people, partnerships, brands, campaigns, advertising (online and out of the house), messages and time, and sequence of activities.

These decisions are not the responsibility of the CMO. All those responsible for the company’s commercial success – CEO, sales and support leaders, product development and technical leaders, and the heads of business development and partnership – play a role in determining the GTM plan for the company.

Everyone must agree with the common goals and objectives of the GTM for a company to reach its revenue goals and beat the competition. It should be regularly documented and reviewed during a formal business review process to ensure that the business is functioning and to change course if necessary.

  1. Integration with other departments

Internal business functions:

  • Sales for campaign development, training, product qualification, and event management
  • Customer success for customer marketing
  • Support in creating an online help center
  • Human resources for recruiting talents and brands

Marketing is at the heart of the customer journey and the CMO must be integrated and transparent with other key functions to ensure a successful end-to-end relationship.