Every day I’m reading more about what CMOs want. In a recent survey, Forrester Research reports that almost two-thirds of CMOs want more involvement in “business strategy development” and over one-third aspire to become CEOs. Lofty goals, or at least remunerative to be sure, but what does it take for not only CMOs, but entire marketing organizations to leave Rodney Dangerfield behind and finally get some respect?
According to a CMO Council report, nearly three-quarters of the C-suite executives consider the marketing organization, “highly influential and strategic in the enterprise”, but at the same time said that nearly two-thirds believe their top marketers don’t provide adequate ROI with which to gauge marketing’s true performance. What’s the deal? And is there anything we can do to help our friends, peers and clients?
When it comes to it, marketing organizations have two responsibilities, one external and one internal. Externally, marketing is responsible for customer engagement, from the classical funnel of awareness, consideration, preference, action and loyalty, to the new world where the explosion of new channels, consumer-generated content and digital communities have flattened our Earth and changed the shape of engagement from push to pull, from mass to micro segmentation and from dialogue to community conversations.
Internally, that is within companies, marketing has the responsibility of accountability. No longer can they define success in terms of reach and frequency or even response rates to targeted campaigns. Today, marketing is on the hook for being able to measure, report and optimize their own expenditures, i.e. deliver a return on marketing investment (ROMI). In many cases, especially in B2C companies, the CMO owns a P&L, a key benchmark for having a seat at the “strategic development” C-suite table.
What does it take to successfully execute each responsibility? Over the course of the next few postings, I want to start examining this question and I look forward to comments and suggestions from readers.
As a hint, I will lead with the statement that I don’t believe that either responsibility can be achieved without the significant use of technology and that many corporate marketing organizations and most agencies are unwilling or unable to take the steps necessary to provide the environment which will make the CMO succeed and earn the respect of the rest of the executive team.