Marketers face plenty of pressure to keep up with the latest marketing strategies, tactics and channels. Something is always changing . . . and falling behind can leave your brand at a competitive disadvantage.
For CMOs, the challenges are even more intense. In addition to adapting to the everyday needs of the changing marketing landscape, CMOs must also evolve as leaders so they can optimize their position in the C-suite. It’s a job that requires constant self-evaluation and re-assessment of answers to questions like: What are our core priorities? How should we be adapting to realize opportunities across the enterprise? Who’s best to collaborate with to get the job done?
Understandably, charting the right course isn’t always easy, and that’s why I was eager to hear from Sheryl Pattek at SDL’s recent CMO Executive Forum. Pattek, a VP at Forrester Research and the firm’s Principal Analyst serving Chief Marketing Officers, recently published a report with important insights about what it means to be a CMO in 2014.
The biggest takeaway? CMOs need to see their role through a much larger lens than was used in the past. We need to see ourselves as business leaders, rather than just marketing leaders. By taking this broader view, we open ourselves to more knowledge, create opportunities for more collaboration and ultimately, lay the foundation to have much more of an impact.
According to Sheryl, here’s what it takes to be an evolved CMO in 2014:
- Realize the importance of technology—and the person in charge of it. EveryCMO needs to make the CMO-CIO relationship a top priority. Why? Because a CMO needs the CIO’s help to put technology in practice—and to get the most out of data.Forrester’s survey indicates that 62% of respondents see the CIO as a strategic partner, and 51% made this collaboration a priority—up from 30% in 2011. And while the 65% of unsynchronized data systems in 2011 is now down to 50%, there’s obviously still some serious integration to do in the years to come.
- Take an active role in management and bring vision to the table. 62% of survey participants viewed a good relationship with their peers as vital, while 96% stated that strategic thinking and vision—keeping an eye on the big picture—was integral, as well.Marketing strategy is still at the heart of every CMO’s role, but smart CMOs know that a broader business perspective will earn the respect—and cooperation—of the other members of the C-suite. 59% said they wanted to grow their influence in this area.
- Tie marketing goals into overall corporate goals. Customer acquisition. Revenue growth. Customer retention. Product development. Brand awareness. Shareholder satisfaction. The CMO plays a role in all of these, and we need to make sure the entire C-suite knows that. By clearly tying marketing goals to enterprise-wide needs, CMOs can establish their role in the company’s success.
To be successful today, you need to leave old silos and purviews behind and make yourself an invaluable part of the larger team. Fortunately, it’s likely you’re not the only one who needs to do so. Communication and collaboration is vital for everyone in the C-suite.