What are the key trends impacting marketers? To find out, I turned to Diana O’Brien, CMO of Deloitte LLP. As the first CMO in the company’s history, she has first-hand experience of how disruption is not only impacting the role of the CMO, but the role of marketing within this professional services firm. Below are O’Brien’s thoughts on the key trends facing marketers this year.
1. Differences in the Perceived Value of Marketing Within an Organization Will Drive CMOs to Increase Their Focus on Communicating Marketing’s Value. A lot has been said about the changing role of the CMO. But we are in the middle of that change and CMOs are trying to navigate it effectively. A key aspect most CMOs are focusing more time on is building the value and perceived credibility of the marketing function. The challenge facing CMOs is threefold: What does greater value and impact look like, how can CMOs lead the change, and how likely they are to know when they’ve accomplished it? This isn’t easy and there is no clear roadmap, but it is a clear priority.
2. A Greater Understanding of the Relationship Between Culture and Brand will Increasingly Drive Marketers to Take On Responsibility for Company Culture. Brand, culture, and conduct are very linked to one another. The brand is a reflection of the culture created and the behavior of a company’s employees. When organizations begin to understand the link between culture and brand, they increasingly turn to the CMO for guidance. In this new role, the CMO needs to be tightly connected with the Chief Talent Officer, Operations, and the C-suite in cultivating a culture that fits with the brand’s ethos, character, personality, values, and positioning. The CMO has a huge responsibility to build the culture…by being clear about what the brand means. Now more than ever, CMOs must cultivate engaging employee experiences that empower the workforce to go out into the marketplace and serve as brand ambassadors.
3. As Part of the Culture Shift, Marketers Will Lead the Shift to a “Client-Centric” Mindset within the C-suite. The CMO is closest to the the customer and most in touch with the marketplace – a closeness that can translate into enhancements in the client experience that will provide business results. This closeness also positions CMOs as key connectors in the C-suite, where they can work with their fellow executives to develop a mindset built around understanding a customer’s business and perspectives, and consequently solve real problems and enable growth.
4. More, Faster, Better Technology Changes Mean that the CMOs Who Stay Focused on Client Problems Will Likely Win. CMOs have to keep their focus despite being inundated with new technology. How do they do this? They stay focused on the problem they are solving for their clients and then find the right technology. The CMOs who listen to every vendor pitch and are excited about technology for the sake of technology may easily become distracted. Technology is a problem solving tool and should be anchored by the problem needing to be solved. Stay close to the consumer or client, understand their problems, and then go find the technology to deliver.
5. Being Nimble will Increasingly be Important, Requiring Greater Marketing Cohesion Across Departments in Large Organizations. Before I took over as CMO, marketers were dispersed throughout the organization. While that was effective for individual business units, it prevented us from moving quickly on company-wide initiatives. Now we have the best of both worlds as marketing is centralized, but we have individuals dedicated to different business units. We can move quickly at both the enterprise and business-unit levels.
Join the Discussion: @KimWhitler @DianaMOBrien