CMOs of old had, at first glance, different goals and challenges than modern CMOs. The old CMO was mainly concerned with corporate marketing campaigns, and was often treated as beneath the C-suite, despite the Chief title — marketing results were considered immeasurable, and marketing departments were often considered a cost center rather than an active part of the sales process.
In many ways, that line of thinking continues today.
The modern CMO still has those traditional goals and challenges. But because the world of marketing has changed, marketing has new challenges — and with those new challenges, CMOs have better opportunities to measurably impact their organization’s growth and success.
Old Vs. New
The rise of digital media, the explosive growth of e-commerce, and variations in marketing spend by industry have changed the way CMOs look at budgets. Rather than a set-it-and-forget-it mentality towards campaigns and budgets, modern CMOs are more actively concerned with how their marketing spend can affect their company’s bottom line.
All CMOs face challenges, but it’s the opportunities within those challenges — and the marketers agile enough to turn challenges into opportunities — that sets modern CMOs apart.
Struggle #1: How do you translate different kinds of data into concrete, feasible action?
You’ve heard about Big Data — and you’ve heard about your data. And by now, you know how your data differs from someone else’s data.
You most likely have several marketing metrics to show how your marketing effort is working, including data on customer views, clicks, and conversion. But the CFO has different data: numbers on cost efficiency and his/her estimation of the average total cost per conversion. Your tech department holds the keys to tracking cookies, visits per page, views per visitor, etc.
A huge challenge for any CMO is how to gather data from other departments. Planning spend, analyzing metrics, looking at attribution — it can be hard to look at all the data if it’s scattered among different departments.
Opportunity #1: Reorganize your department’s structure to be agile.
If you’re struggling to efficiently gather all the data you need, then it may be time to rethink the organizational structure you’re working in. A CMO who wants to be on the cutting edge of today’s marketing needs the disparate aspects of proper analysis at arm’s length.
It’s time to bring every facet of analysis under the same roof—your staff should include people who can fill out the talent in these various disciplines. Bring in people who are savvy in tech and programming, take on some members who can run statistical analysis, fill in the gap’s in your marketing department’s knowledge so you can function efficiently in all aspects.
The more data you can control, the better you can plan your marketing spend — by industry, by need, by return on investment.
Struggle #2: Improving the attribution of marketing efforts to sales while keeping one eye on the next step (or the next twenty steps).
All CMOs have one basic need — proper attribution. Marketing’s main goal is to convert to sales and to attribute sales to specific marketing spend. Attribution can help quash the marketing-department-as-cost-center thought process: the modern CMO needs to show that customers reached the point of sale because of X, Y, and Z marketing channels.
And attribution is so much harder with the rise of digital marketing. The path to purchase can be fuzzy, especially if you’re not equipped to determine the specific points where customers have interacted with marketing efforts along the path.
Opportunity #2: The marketing venue is the marketplace
To some extent, the lines have blurred between marketing and sales. Almost every form of marketing spend has the potential to become a sale, which means you can show how marketing spend directly affects sales results.
Once you’re able to show digital paths to purchase — and you’re able to attribute sales to marketing spend — you do more than just increase your ROI: you have the opportunity to directly affect your company’s sales with your marketing spend.
Struggle #3: It’s no longer as simple as coming up with the next “Have a Coke and a Smile”
Oh, for the days when your campaign only needed a snappy slogan and a few well-placed billboards or commercials. Marketing campaigns are incredibly complex, and determining the appropriate budget allocation for different channels is an art form in itself. Rather than focusing on one large campaign per quarter or year, modern marketing departments may be juggling multiple campaigns.
Opportunity #3 The more you know…
More campaigns and more marketing channels means more opportunity for conversions and growth. Modern CMOs aren’t limited to making great TV or radio ads. With a myriad of Twitter and Facebook campaigns, viral YouTube videos, digital display ad campaigns, the modern marketer has more opportunities to be, well, brilliant. As marketing channels diversify, so do the opportunities for success.
The Opportunities Outweigh the Struggles
Being a CMO is now an interdisciplinary trade, one that requires acumen in customer behaviors, analytics, and new media. CMOs need to understand marketing spend by channel budgets, digital attribution, and return on investment — marketing has moved from a cost center to a center of cutting-edge technology and advancement. Now, being a leader in the marketing field means turning challenges into opportunities give you the chance to be successful.