Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Forbes CMO Summit in Naples. Over the span of two days and many different speakers, panels, and conversations—several themes emerged.
One overarching revelation: the role of marketing is changing. As I listened to marketing leaders from across nearly every industry, it was very clear that marketing organizations of all sizes are in flux. CMOs are rapidly evolving the way they connect and build relationships with customers. They are changing how they develop and communicate a brand, recruit and manage a team, build out a suite of tools and resources, and measure success.
During the summit, Bruce Rogers, the Chief Insights Officer at Forbes, introduced a concept called the 4 Cs of CMO concerns that encapsulate the summit’s major themes. They are as follows.
1. Content: How do you meet the growing content demand?
A large emphasis throughout the summit was the importance of content. The concept of developing great content isn’t new to marketers. Yet today, the demand for high-quality content has reached an all-time high since it is used throughout the marketing organization. Rogers benchmarked content marketing as 25% of the CMO’s budget. Content touches every aspect of effective brand marketing, digital and social media, traditional media, physical retail, and more.
While the necessity of content is obvious, the execution around creating and harnessing it is more ambiguous. CMOs across industries are plagued by the challenge of producing enough high-performing content in a timely manner that is relevant to, and can easily be distributed across, all channels. To earn the trust of consumers, especially millennials, brands need to be authentic, credible, and relevant. Customers need to know why your brand exists, and great content is a tent pole for telling your brand story and communicating you brand lifestyle.
As brands build omni-channel content engines that “require a lot more gas” they will need to find solutions to scale content production. A particularly interesting topic of discussion was the concept of co-creation and crowdsourcing content from customers. However, an initial challenge to collaborating with customers and using user-generated content is finding a scalable solution to collecting and syndicating it across multiple channels.
2. Culture: Have you created a culture that fosters transparency, creativity, innovation, and accountability?
As marketing departments’ responsibilities within an organization grow, many CMOs are hyper-focused on building a team with the cross-functional skill sets and the scalability to succeed in today’s business landscape.
While envisioning the ideal culture for marketing departments, attendees talked about things such as transparency, creativity, innovation, and accountability. In particular, they mentioned the importance of creating a culture where employees are empowered to make decisions and where the best ideas have the chance to rise to the top. Companies need to adapt to shifts in consumer behavior and to new technologies at a mind-boggling rates. For example, with the rise of different data sources available to marketers, they can now take action on opportunities in a more timely fashion. As a result, it’s important to have a culture that embraces innovation and enables talented employees to take action.
3. Capabilities: Do I have the right people, process, and technology in place?
Accommodating for the increased responsibility of most marketing departments is not a problem that can be solved simply through team structuring. After optimizing your human capital, brands much emphasize bringing the right tools and technology into their organizations to help scale output and input.
The biggest problem with finding the right tools to help CMO’s organizations succeed is navigating the chaos and confusion that surrounds marketing technology as a whole. This leaves teams struggling to determine which technology vendors are right for the company and will be most helpful in achieving core business goals. This also creates the additional challenge of understanding when to test software versus when to truly invest in it at scale. More importantly, recruiting and retaining the right digital talent to take advantage of these new technologies is growing incredibly competitive.
4) Commerce: How is this driving business outcomes?
Now more than ever, the CMO’s responsibilities are tied to direct commerce outcomes; going beyond traditional branding metrics replaced instead with total revenue generated by the company.
Marketers are being measured more and more on quantitative metrics and CMOs are facing pressure to understand the direct ROI of nearly every marketing initiative. Additionally, as eCommerce and mobile sales numbers grow, marketers are able to take a much more data-centric approach to evolving their brand. However, one challenge marketers are still facing is how various brand metrics lead to a sale. Across the board, commerce is becoming more social and social is becoming more commerce centric. The blending of these traditionally siloed channels is just one example of how marketing is becoming more multi-disciplined and requires a mix of strategic, creative, and analytical thinking.
The CMO can no longer just be a pure marketer—he or she needs to fundamentally grasp many aspects of the business. As one of the panelists put it, today’s CMO is an enterprise leader that requires both functional expertise and the responsibility for advocating for the customer in the C-Suite.
This article was written by Kyle Wong from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.