The Evolution Of The CMO

Marketing teams are changing, CMOs must therefore adapt to lead


The marketing landscape is evolving rapidly. Social media and digital are more important than ever, driving higher customer engagement to unprecedented levels. The amount of customer data now available, and its arrival in near real time, is causing the control of brands to pass out of the hands of the businesses and over to the consumer.

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has a wide range of technologies available to them that can monitor engagement with campaigns and stay on top of the vast amount of data. These are not only enabling better data collection and analysis though. Software like Marketo is also helping to automate tasks that were previously carried out manually. A study by Gartner has predicted that the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017, while a Marketing Weekly study, ‘The New Marketer – How Data and Technology are Driving the Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist’, revealed that 34% of marketing professionals spend half their time working with technology, and a further 38% said their role will depend more on it in the next five years.

All of these additional considerations are driving a substantial shift in the CMO’s duties, and the knowledge and skill set they are expected to have. They are increasingly looking to others to deal with the technology allowing them to focus on creative and strategic decisions. The Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT), in particular, is helping them cope. CMTs align marketing technology with business goals by serving as a liaison to IT, and in selecting, evaluating and choosing marketing technology providers that match the organization’s needs. Indeed, the role has now become so important that 35% of UK marketers say it will replace the traditional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) role within the next 5 years, while 53% say most organizations should employ both a CMO and CMT, or at least a tech-focussed senior marketer.

Should the CMO really feel threatened by the CMT? In many ways, the CMT is effectively taking on the technological responsibilities that the CMO has found themselves dealing with over recent years. The increasing importance of marketing technology may mean that the CMO is marginalized as a business partner, but it could also mean that they are simply relieved from the burden of buying the latest technology, and can thus focus more on being creative. The increased ability of the customer to make themselves part of the process means that the CMO has enough to think about, and leveraging insights from the data that can make campaigns as effective as possible.


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