The CMO Club and Gartner for Marketing Leaders just released a new CMO study articulating challenges chief marketing officers (CMOs) self-reported about developing credibility with their C-Suite, particularly, their respective CEOs. A survey-based methodology anchored the study. CMO Club members responded to a comprehensive set of questions encompassing CMO priorities, investments, management expectations, shift in responsibilities, role in marketing technology and key success metrics. The results are both confirmatory and igniting: The CMO’s role is morphing into a General Manager position with added cross-functional responsibility and higher expectations to contribute to both top and bottom line growth.

“Neither integrated customer experiences nor growth and innovation can be achieved by the marketing organization alone”, said Laura McLellan, VP Marketing Strategies in Gartner Research; but “CMOs are a key linchpin in digital business transformation, working in concert with peers.

Key Findings according to the report:

  • CEO’s number one increased expectation of CMOs is to step up to leadership of the integrated cross-functional customer experience. Growing competition and consumer power are eroding traditional product-based advantages, forcing marketers to shift to a new battlefield: customer experience.
  • CMO’s top-three investment areas over the next two years – digital commerce, customer experience and the mobile channel – all involve accountability to C-suite peers. Growth requires diversification as well as innovation — in the business model, offerings, routes to market, underlying technology and tools.
  • CMO credibility comes from generating both top and bottom-line growth, plus softer metrics such as customer advocacy, brand, and emotional value. Cultural fit and chemistry with peers are as essential to building credibility as is CMO accountability in delivering against specific measurements for joint success.

“As a former customer-centricity consultant, I am delighted to see the overall customer experience rise to the top of the priority list. It’s long overdue, but understandable, as it’s definitely a cross-functional challenge that requires an entire organization to realign and focus on what really counts – the customer,” said Nadine Dietz, Chief Marketing Officer at The CMO Club. “Customers are outpacing companies today in their demand for a seamless omnichannel experience and albeit a tremendous technological, analytical and alignment challenge for companies, it’s imperative to mobilize accordingly.”

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