CMO Insight: Tips For Managing A Shifting Role

by Amanda Batista on April 3, 2013 in Marketing Efficiency

The Chief Marketing Officer’s role is evolving, as marketing leaders are tasked to be Jacks and Janes of all trades — addressing data, content, and technology initiatives across their organizations.

With the convergence of concurrent technology, marketing leaders have to develop strategies for and hire talent to support these emerging tactical musts. While titles like Content Curator, Social Media Expert and Data Scientist are popping up, college curriculum hasn’t necessarily caught up with these emerging business needs. In a valiant effort to roll with the punches, marketing leaders are breaking down the barriers of responsibility and tackle these various challenges head-on, often without the necessary support of devoted teams or budgets.

What’s more telling is that, by 2017, CMOs are expected to spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs, according to predictions by Gartner Group Research VP Laura McLellan.

In an effort to uncover the perceived challenges of marketing leaders, as well as their willingness to improve and adapt to changing roles, Lisa Nirell, Chief Energy Officer at marketing consulting firm Energize Growth, surveyed a group of marketers for their qualitative feedback.

The study points to a lack of self-management structure, persistent cross-departmental conflict and low technology acumen as the biggest marketing leadership obstacles. The white paper, titled “Lessons from the Trenches: How Marketing Leaders Can Thrive in the Battle for Relevance” highlights the importance of self-mastery, continued education in finance and technology, and cross-functional collaboration.

In addition to the study’s quantitative metrics, the white paper offers recommendations and opportunities for marketing leaders in the areas of:

  1. Self reflection and peer networking- “Make this your year of self-mastery,” the paper notes. Break free from the perceived “order center role” and remember that courage, not compliance, is the real non-optional skill for marketing leaders.
  2. Big Data- “Educate yourself in marketing analytics, cloud computing, and big data.” By partnering with your CIO and hiring external advisors and analyst to decipher these trends and technology drivers, marketing leaders can truly understand how to benefit from them.
  3. Connecting sales channel silos- “Build stronger bridges with every sales channel.” To meet the demands of sales quotas influencing the organization, it’s critical to work more collaboratively with customer facing teams on account planning and opportunistic activities.
  4. Customer centricity- If you lead a B2B organization, optimize your field marketing function.” Understanding how prospects buy is a key factor in any marketing leader’s ability to develop and lead an effective Demand Center.
  5. Emulating the agency business model- “Successful marketing leaders have witnessed a direct correlation between collaborative, agile team models, and productivity.” When you and your teams can turn on a dime, you can serve your customers more efficiently and improve your overall collaboration systems.  Think beyond the traditional command and control models to broaden your marketing creativity.

Click here to access the web form to download the “Lessons From The Trenches” white paper, as well as the “CMO Findings” infographic.

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