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How CMOs Can Keep Up with the Ever-Changing Digital Age

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 12:00 PM |

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Thanks to the rise of digital marketing, big data, and the need to engage consumers across multiple platforms and with personal interactions, the role of chief marketing officer (CMO) has become even more important.

The rapid pace of change sure does explain why so many marketers are completely stressed out.

Besides taking many slow, deep breaths and going for walks in nature, there are some things CMOs can do to keep pace with the changes while keeping their sanity intact.

Embrace Marketing Automation

Proving the value of marketing has never been an easy task. But in recent years, with the addition of ridiculous amounts of data and constantly-emerging marketing channels, proving value has become a bit of a nightmare. Add to this the fact that most CMOs are not techies – they’re simply people who have been forced into situations where they have to figure everything out or else.

This is why it’s important for CMOs to embrace marketing automation tools that make it easy to read and share data. Better customer insights lead to better marketing outcomes.

Hire Those With Skills You Don't HaveHire Those with Skills You Don’t Have

A lot of CMOs cut their marketing teeth during a time when digital was something “out there” that was taking place. But now digital is happening front and center and in their very own department.

This means few CMOs have the skills necessary to constantly adapt, which means they need to hire marketers who can fill in that skills gap. They need to hire people who are proficient in using today’s technologies, can analyze mounds of data while constantly thinking strategy. Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO of Neustar points out, "As we continue to move at breakneck speed, finding and retaining data scientists and data analytics talent will become a major pain point for us." 

Finding marketers who wear multiple hats may become a trial, especially for those brands not located in major metropolitan areas. The next best bet is to create specialty teams who collaborate with each other. For instance, you may develop a “content center” whose team members are ninjas when it comes to creating and distributing content. You may also have a “marketing technology” team that specializes in testing and selecting the right tools and channels for distribution.

Think Like a Publisher

 Back in the day, when you heard the word content, you tended to think of PDFs and brochures. But today’s consumers expect more. They want ThinkTsmart, intuitive, personalized experiences across all channels.

Today’s CMOs have to be in the publishing business and distribute content that is relevant and consistent across all channels. (Oh, and it has to educate as well. When you educate an audience, they tend to trust you more.)

All of this is to say that CMOs need to stop thinking of themselves as CMOs and instead think of themselves as publishers whose goal is to use data to create integrated, meaningful experiences for their audience.

CMOs Must Coordinate Teams EfficientlyCMOs must coordinate teams efficiently

It is not uncommon, even for smaller, local businesses, to have parts of their marketing team located in another city, state, or even country. One of the biggest challenges for CMOs in this situation is to make sure all of these dispersed team members are working as a cohesive unit. This requires ensuring everyone is regularly communicating and sharing data, insights, and content.

CMOs also must be able to be the voice of the translator that serves as go-between of what a company does and what a customer needs. This requires understanding the product roadmap while keeping your finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs and demands – always listening to those digital conversation taking place ‘out there.’

With all of these demands, it’s easy to see why some CMOs have trouble sleeping at night. But by following these guidelines, they can rest easy while proving their value.

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