Chief marketing officers are taking on more roles within the company but lack confidence in their ability to achieve success outside of storytelling.
A joint study by CMO Council and Deloitte called “CMOs and the Spark to Drive Growth” asserts that the role of chief marketing officer may shift from brand-builder and experience-orchestrator into an executive who directs and drives long-term, sustainable growth. The study findings are based on a Q1 and Q2 2018 online survey completed by 191 marketing leaders.
Today’s chief marketing officers are trying to do it all, the study found, with 70 percent of marketers feeling prepared to impact revenue gains and brand valuations in the coming year. Marketers are not as confident in areas like gross margins or market share, however, with CMOs exhibiting a readiness at just 20 percent and 32 percent, respectively.
While the study expresses opportunities for success for CMOs that influence areas throughout the company, the sentiment comes with a warning—be ambitious, but don’t forget the customer.
“What we hear from our CMO clients is that they are attempting to tackle some of their organizations’ toughest challenges, sometimes losing sight of keeping the customer at the center of it all,” Sheryl Jacobson, principal of Deloitte Consulting said in a statement. “For the CMO to be effective, they have to keep the customer at the center of every conversation and figure out solutions that will drive growth. But then translate the strategy into the languages of their C-suite peers.”
In fact, the study found a disconnection between marketers and other company leaders that drive the customer experience.
When asked to identify their marketing strategy and growth allies, only 29 percent consider the COO to be an ally today and 28 percent named the head of product. Only 14 percent said that they connect with heads of service and support.
While 31 percent of respondents claim their organizational allies to be locked on and supportive of marketing strategies and goals, 26 percent said that allies within the company are too busy focusing on their own strategies. Three percent said that alignment with marketing strategies are good, but fall apart at the point of execution.
The answer, CMO Council and Deloitte say, lies in matching up the customer’s vision of need and value with the business’ definition of growth and success.
“It will likely demand that marketers become cultural change agents, sparking innovation in how teams, technologies and touchpoints converge,” the study predicts.
Just 18 percent of respondents said they are poised to reach intended growth rates, and nearly half—46 percent—said they are “fairly well positioned” to succeed. Overall confidence is good, but shaky, with 30 percent saying that success is likely, but not guaranteed and three percent saying they are starting to lose ground. Another three percent said that without change, intended growth rate success is unlikely.