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Not dead yet: the role of the CMO is expanding, not disappearing

The Drum 11 Feb 2019 06:51

Over the past decade, nearly every industry has been digitally disrupted. They’ve been disrupted by new technologies, new sources and applications of data and, most of all, new consumer behaviors.

Within nearly every organization, the marketing department has been ground zero for this disruption — the place where its first and severest effects have been felt.

As a result, the marketing organization has stretched into many new areas and contracted from others. Meanwhile, the marketer’s role has evolved and increased in complexity: We are still marketers and strategists, both creative and scientific, but now we are also technologists, data scientists, and revenue managers.

These drastic shifts in responsibility have caused some industry pundits to posit that the role of the chief marketing officer is going extinct. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite the myriad new C-suite titles that have emerged — chief growth officers, chief digital officers, chief data officers, and more — the role of the chief marketing officer is alive and well. And it is expanding significantly.

The transition veterans

The experience that chief marketing officers gained in transitioning their traditional businesses for the digital world must now be called on to transition again for today’s data-first world. New models are being implemented. Departments are reorganizing. Employees are being re-educated. And chief marketing officers will draw on the lessons from past successes (and failures) when it comes to streamlining and achieving executive buy-in during these processes. And, as with the digital-first transition, their efforts will affect departments well beyond marketing.

Expanding customer-centricity beyond marketing

In becoming data-driven (and, more important, insight-driven), companies are actually becoming customer-driven, or even customer-obsessed. This is the pivot required to stay relevant in an age of disruption, and the deep consumer insights required to drive these transformations are arising from within the marketing organization. Going forward, chief marketing officers will be called on not only to use these insights to break down silos within their own department, but also to bridge silos across the broader organization.

Ericka Podesta McCoy is chief marketing officer of Resonate

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