What it takes to be a Future CMO

Marketers have a tough job, and it’s increasingly so, but what are the major challenges facing marketers looking to be a Future CMO?

Being pushed to deliver short-term results whilst also shaping a long-term brand strategy. Having to understand the business challenges to drive the bottom line, whilst knowing how to make creativity work to make their brand stand out. Having the data to be able to personalise their messages to target audiences, and knowing what data is worthwhile and what is misleading or simply unnecessary. These challenges are just the tip of the iceberg.

We work with a lot of marketers and CMOs, and we know they’ve got a tough job – so when the opportunity arose to support the recent Raconteur report on The Future CMO, printed in The Times, we were thrilled to be involved.

The report contains some important insight marketers should be aware of – and we’ve pulled out some key content below.

Influencer marketing

The role and effectiveness of influencer marketing is diminishing due to the decreasing of trust people have that this type of marketing is genuinely ‘social’ and not simply another form of advertising.

‘This sense of authenticity has been eroded by a rush to jump on the influencer gravy train, and a backlash against influencers attempting to blag free goods and services’ Matthew Chapman in The Future CMO 2018

Marketing for good

As brands become more central to society, their role and responsibility becomes not simply economic but also social. Some marketers are taking this role on to try to make the world a better place by shaping better brands. If businesses want brands to play a part in people’s lives beyond the transactional then they need to accept that people will be more demanding of the brand.

‘Marketing leaders aren’t just trying to grow their brands, they’re working out how to make the world a better place.’ Gemma Greaves, Chief Executive The Marketing Society in The Future CMO 2018

You don’t get long

CMOs jobs are being made even more difficult by them having extremely short tenures (on average) at businesses. With pressure to deliver short term results, it becomes very difficult to shape a longer-term brand strategy that can really embed a brand into peoples’ lives. How do CMOs help define and communicate a meaning for a brand when they are in and out of the door so quickly?

‘CMOs now have the shortest average tenure among their corporate counterparts, with some research putting it at just 18 months. This compares with chief executives at 9.1 years and chief financial officers at 5.1 years according to analysis by executive search firm Korn Ferry.’ Wavemaker in The Future CMO 2018

Every interaction matters

Marketing isn’t simply about promotion, but it needs to consider every interaction a person has with and about a business. Marketers need to create a multitude of moments which people will remember and will associate both with each other and want to associate with themselves. This is how a brand can be shaped over the long-term whilst also working for short-term benefits.

‘The purpose of the marketing function of the future will be not to just promote products, but to represent the company in the engagement economy – in every interaction the company has with its customers across all channels – and to ensure that, when a customer wants to buy or ask for service, it is as effortless as possible.’ Steve Lucas, Chief executive Marketo in The Future CMO 2018.

Make people feel something

There is currently an obsession with data, but maybe we are in danger of forgetting that the data is only a part of the picture. In an attention economy we have to remember that beyond the data it is up to marketers (and those working with them) to utilise creativity to encourage attention from those we want to hear us.

‘The best advertising will always be the sum total of informed emotive decisions; that is, data to inform, common sense, creativity and, perhaps, just a hunch.’ Tom Goodwin in The Future CMO 2018.

Focus on the brand

With tenures short, and pressures for short-term results, the longer-term brand strategy can be lost. For a business to grow the brand needs to continually be shaped and encouraged. By ensuring all short-term performance marketing is also informed by and aligns to a long-term strategy, the brand can increase in equity and in turn make short-term activations more effective.

‘It is incumbent on marketers to make the case for long-term brand building in the boardroom. If they don’t, it will not be just their agencies at risk of being fired for not delivering results.’ Maisie McCabe in The Future CMO 2018.

These are some highlights of the report, but there is plenty more there on the challenges and opportunities facing CMOs in todays business environment. You can take a read of the full report by downloading it from here.

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