Marketers Are Behind: Here’s How to Win Back that Competitive Edge

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) position as we know it is in trouble. Companies like Taco Bell, Uber, Johnson & Johnson, and Hyatt Hotels have eliminated the CMO position and course-corrected with replacement roles like Chief Growth Officer, Chief Experience Officer, or Chief Revenue Officer. Only 70% of Fortune 500 companies had CMOs in 2019, down from 4% in 2009, and their tenure is the shortest of the C-suite at 3.5 years.

These trends reflect a transformation that has marketers losing their seats at the table, which is strange because marketing budgets are higher than ever. Overall budgets have risen to 11.8% in 2022, resetting to pre-pandemic levels.

Why this shift away from the CMO role? Companies want every position to be as efficient as possible with profitability in mind—no matter what department you work for. This transition can be challenging for CMOs who lead a department that’s traditionally been a cost center. If CMOs want to keep their seat at the table, they need to shift their focus and become obsessed with three things: customers, data, and revenue.

Prioritize Your Focus on the Customer Journey

CMOs have always been concerned about customers, but today, a CMO with a competitive edge has to prioritize their focus on the entire customer journey.

Traditionally, a CMO’s core responsibilities include market research, vetting new products, advertising, and managing the brand, all of which happen before a customer makes a purchase.

Today, savvy CMOs understand the whole customer journey impacts someone’s decision to make a purchase—from marketing to sales to support. The marketing team’s scope has widened in response and oversees everything from the initial interaction with a brand to providing engaging experiences and exceptional service.

Each of these elements affects whether or not the overall customer experience is positive, which 73% of customers say is a factor in their decision to make a purchase. And CMOs obsessed with optimizing this experience will be the most successful.

Data Management Should Be a Top Priority

People interact with almost every business online. Even if they’re not tapping a virtual credit card, they’re still researching before making a purchase.

All this online interaction creates piles and piles of data to be collected and analyzed. Keeping track of that data while ensuring you comply with privacy laws must be a top priority. Most marketing leaders think managing customer privacy falls under their job description, and 58% are taking steps to strengthen data management practices in response.

CMOs who want to stay competitive will need to do this while weaning off third-party data before the cookie dies in 2024. Almost 18% of marketers expect their use of third-party data to decline over the next two years, indicating that savvy CMOs should focus on building a robust first-party data strategy and testing alternatives like contextual targeting.

Part of managing data well includes using the smartest technology you can—CMOs can get ahead by looking for platforms that manage and analyze customer data for you while also meeting the compliance requirements for your industry.

All Activities Should Be Measured By Revenue Impact

Modern CMOs are responsible for revenue generation, and their success is measured by it. While attribution for this—like sales representative activity or the impact of an event or ad campaign—may be clear, it gets muddier when you start digging into activity that happens earlier in the customer journey. The modern CMO should seek to advance their measurement capabilities so that single-touch or multi-touch attribution is possible for all marketing activities.

Contently has built a maturity model to guide companies looking to advance their digital marketing measurement in four easy-to-follow steps: crawl, walk, run, and fly.

Gaining Back a Competitive Edge Is Within Reach for CMOs

The fate of the CMO isn’t sealed—far from it. The role is just transforming. The CMO’s fate depends on their ability to focus on the customer, manage their data, and measure the impact marketing has on revenue.

Gaining back your competitive edge is a matter of shifting focus to the customer journey and measuring your success by revenue. Schedule a demo to learn how working with Contently will tie your content marketing efforts back to revenue and accurately measure your content’s impact on your customer experience.

Image by leremy

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