Technology is changing the world around us—from the way we communicate to the way we collect data, even the way we shop. As a direct result, marketers are having to evolve the way they work, too. While the days of traditional RFPs and advertising deals are still here, the sun is setting on them—and quickly. Today’s marketers must be more nimble in how they approach campaigns; while they still need to deliver solid creative, it’s even more important for them to deliver business results.
The growing trend in marketing—which isn’t going away any time soon—is to treat it as a technical discipline rather than an art form. This change in mindset has led to three industry-wide trends that give CMOs the chance to cement their roles as both influencers and decision makers.
In a recent survey conducted by technology research company Gartner, Inc., CEOs said that their three most immediate technical needs were better capability in the areas of digital marketing, ecommerce, and customer experience management. Each of these areas falls under the purview of the CMO. And although each requires a different technical expertise, the common thread is that, in each instance, marketers must adapt from selling a single message to a million people to connecting with a single person one million times over. “This kind of personalized messaging requires data and technical infrastructure,” says Lei Sun, Founder and CEO at Yozio. “The CMOs who harness this data will reach more segments and create impactful campaigns that increase marketing’s exposure in the C-suite.” It’s no small task, but it’s the only way marketers will find success in this new digital age.
More and more, marketers are spending larger portions of their budget on technology, so much so, in fact, that Gartner estimates that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on technology than their CIO counterparts. (Mostly) gone are the days of lavish client dinners and huge prime time ad buys—among the new expenditures are innovative solutions for media buying that will change the way customers are targeted. CMOs are also spending precious dollars on data collection to help them gain a broader understanding of who they should be targeting, where they should be targeting them, and why. And lastly, CMOs are trying to find ways to connect their new metrics with traditional ones to gain a more holistic view of their successes or failures. A number of startups are rising to fill this growing demand, and we expect that demand to grow even more in the coming years.
Marketers are gaining significant influence in the C-suite: Korn/Ferry, an executive recruiting company, recently found that 53% of CEOs believed that their current CMO could eventually replace them at the top of the corporate pyramid. More than anything, what this statistic shows is that CMOs are becoming indispensable, and their influence can only be expected to rise. While CIOs will lead the transition to a more digitally focused company, CMOs will also play a vital role. As the graphic below illustrates, this is in line with CEO expectations. Ultimately, it’s essential that the two work together, because in this new age, better information should translate to more successful marketing, which in turn should provide companies with even more concrete information about their customers. This cycle will be the driving force of businesses for years to come, and CMOs must be prepared to do their part if they plan to thrive.
As CMOs respond to shifting business priorities, budgets, and newfound influence, it’s no longer enough for them to live in a marketing silo—they must begin to think like CEOs. And that means looking for startups and services with cutting-edge platforms that can help them deliver the high impact results their companies are looking for. Marketing may be shifting to a technical discipline, but the tools that will one day complete that transition are still being discovered. In this new digital world, entrepreneurs and founders who are able to seize this moment will be rewarded with new marketing opportunities. A new era has begun, but it’s not yet too late for CMOs—or entrepreneurs—to get on board.
For more information on how the roles of CMOs are changing and what their technological needs will be, download my latest white paper, MarTech and the Decade of the CMO.