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CMOs: Technology is the New Leadership Advantage

CMO CIO Handshake

The rapid advancement of marketing technology and innovation is forcing enterprises and marketers to embrace both technological and organizational change. The leadership and technical knowledge of CMOs are being put to the test. CMOS who are slow to act – or cannot integrate and organize their customer data in a meaningful way – will be crushed by their more nimble and forward-thinking competitors.

I engage with CMOs almost daily, as an executive marketing a SaaS solution for enterprise-wide marketing & sales ROI measurement. In light of the marketing technology revolution, it’s not surprising I get more interest and responses from recently hired and promoted heads of marketing. They have a clearer vision on where data, analytics and technology can take them, and thus are more open to engagement.

In the CMO’s quest to improve customer intelligence, engagement and marketing ROI, it’s strategically essential to stay on top of new technologies, in this fast and dynamic environment. Customers are expecting personalized service across all touch points- regardless of the medium or devices they use. Having a unified view of customers will be necessary.

CMOs are building out their marketing stacks (a set of tools to manage their “big data”) with an average of 10 -12 solutions. They’re seeking to harness their data to create automated, personalized, measurable marketing programs that deliver the right offers to the right people at the right time. Most enterprises are still hitting major hurdles and road blocks with cross-channel integration and increasingly fragmented data sources, which is putting a unified customer view out of reach.

Are CMOs leveraging technology effectively? According to IBM’s CMO Global Insights Study, 82% of CMOs feel underprepared to deal with their data growth, up from 71% in 2011. CMOs will also have to demonstrate their leadership skills to align interdepartmental goals – primarily from IT, finance and sales – and remove the barriers and close data gaps. A collaborative interdepartmental collective vision and strategy must be put in place and executed.

The highest compensated CMOs are those who have developed strong alliances with CIOs and CFOs. These CMOs have key accomplishments centered on restructuring marketing to drive results, improving the yield/accountability of marketing, and building digital capabilities – according to the (CMO) Council’s CMO Compensation Report.

If evidence is needed, here’s a staggering metric from IBM’s CMO Global Insights Study, “Where CMOs and CIOs work well together, the enterprise is 76% more likely to outperform in terms of revenues and profitability… and 74% intend to partner more extensively to help them realize their goals.” These enterprises with strong CMO/CIO partnerships will be the most successful in breaking down different embedded interdepartmental processes, cultures and goals, to create a unified whole.

Only time will tell which business can adapt to the point of having a unified customer view and optimized marketing ROI. The next few years will be interesting as enterprises and CMOs transform and incorporate new technologies. Competition is fierce and over time it will be clear which enterprises are winning or losing. But a marketing technologist who can connect all the dots, will know well in advance.

By Robert Thibeault

Robert is the Director of Business Development at Black Ink ROI and helps companies measure, report, and optimize enterprise - wide marketing and sales ROI.

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