Inspiration & Culture

How CMOs can lead their teams to digital marketing transformation success

Published on Oct 2, 2017 1:30 AM

The role of the CMO has evolved over the years, with the average lifespan of a CMO shrinking to a mere 44 months, according to some reports. This is down a full four months from previous years, and is the shortest shelf life compared to other C-Suites; CEOs average seven years, while CFOs are likely to stay for five or six years.

Based on the above, it is clear that the modern-day CMO is under a lot of pressure, with a need to be agile while also juggling a wider range of responsibilities, thanks to marketing expanding rapidly with the rise of the digital age. What can a CMO do in that span of time and leave as a legacy? As every good leader knows, success is often built with great teams.

Below is a quick list of how CMOs can help empower their people.

Instill a collaborative team culture

Regardless of how the industry and environment has evolved, the importance of creating the right culture has never diminished. Marketing teams don’t work in a vacuum and need to collaborate internally across various departments, from sales and customer success, to product development.

This often results in the marketing team being pulled in different directions and dependent upon different people, leading to CMOs wondering how their teams can deliver more efficiently, and with fewer resources. CMOs that aim to build teams agile enough to keep up with changing customer needs are those that recognize the importance of collaboration for streamlining processes, thus creating more time for strategy, innovative ideas, and higher-quality work.

As CMOs aim for more collaborative inter-departmental relationships, embracing digital marketing technology (martech) by accepting the evolution of various digital channels and platforms, along with an integrated media strategy and activation will form an integral part of the process.

Adopting performance-led technology

A big challenge that all CMOs face is navigating through a digital and tech-driven landscape that is fragmented, complex and overcrowded. However, those that can cut through the noise to identify and implement marketing technology and intelligence correctly will have a competitive edge.

For example, CMOs that know it’s time to move beyond simple automation of processes will empower their teams with performance-led technology that can have a massive impact on the bottom line. This can be done through content marketing based on performance metrics, for instance, with the help of media monitoring tools.

It’s clear that having a “digital” sensibility is not enough. Being able to leverage multiple tech-enabled formats and options – example: native, mobile, video, social, programmatic, content syndication, etc. – is a given in today’s environment. This is crucial when it comes to CMOs allowing their teams to activate their most valuable asset in engagement with consumers – content. Which brings us to the next point.

Focus on the storytelling

With several brands jumping on the publishing bandwagon, it’s no surprise that one of the roles a CMO now holds is as the organization’s “head of publishing.” Creation, management and quality control of content, will fall under the marketing team, alongside engagement with customers and prospects.

As more brands start publishing content and compete for consumer attention, it will become increasingly difficult to reach target audiences as everyone will be vying for the same group. This presents yet another challenge where CMOs must look for ways to enable their teams to tell good brand stories that make their brand noteworthy, to win consumer eyeballs and dollars. The new mix of assets to be considered run the gamut from video to whitepapers and other types of dynamic content tailored to appeal to the target audience.

The role of a modern CMO requires many different hats. Fortunately, CMOs don’t have to go through it alone and there are technologies which have been created to assist; from cloud services that help with efficiency and productivity, to business intelligence tools that offer automated reporting. Where once things were done manually and unmeasurable, technology has created various tools that marketing units need to track KPIs and ROI.

Does the sales department wish to know how many leads there were this month? Sure. Is the client demanding to know how many impressions their ad spend generated each week? No problem. Data has a permanent place in the marketing arsenal and the tools are there to be used. What drives the complexity is the increase in data and marketing technology partners, so the trick is to identify which one is right for you and your team.

*This article first appeared in CMO Innovation.

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