The role of the chief marketing officer (CMO) has undergone a head-spinning transformation over the last decade. Once the leader of all things creative and brand, many of today’s CMOs are responsible for every aspect of the customer experience (CX), spanning technology, customer data and analytics, existing account growth, and, ultimately, impact on the bottom line. As fast-evolving technology and consumer behaviors collide, the CMO role has evolved substantially, increasing the CMO’s visibility and potential for leadership and influence. Though CMOs actively work to position themselves as enterprisewide strategic leaders, they are often overwhelmed with legacy tasks, such as tactical campaign management.
Over the last few years, businesses have become much more customer-focused and a lot of that gets directed to things that operate under the banner of CX. CMOs are frequently the owners and drivers of CX, the scope and depth of which can be expansive and stretch beyond the traditional domain of a marketing organization. CMOs are required to lead the charge or at least play a major role in CX, driving this chief customer officer narrative.
There’s also something else at play: Today, CMOs and their teams need to be absolute experts on consumer or customer behaviors and trends and be hyper-aware of the competitive landscape, historical business performance, and broader mega-trends. There’s no longer an option to operate without a powerful insight engine. You can’t be customer-centric if you don’t understand customers and the holistic reality of the world they live in.
CMOs are re-embracing a more intelligent approach to strategy, which is to say systems that are based on deeper insight and designed to be dynamic and adaptable. The last couple of years has made it clear the world can change quickly and dramatically. Organizations that can’t or won’t quickly adjust their strategies do and will continue to struggle.
Another big shift for CMOs is seeing more success optimizing for lifetime value (LTV) — and not just in terms of near-term transactional goals. There is always a tension between balancing near-term business objectives and long-term needs. The increased friction and costs to acquire new customers can be high, so finding and keeping the right customers has become much more important. Businesses and CMOs with vision and healthy financial positions are making LTV a priority.