CMOs: the new business leaders

Globalization and virtualization have pushed the boundaries of the roles that have traditionally been given to the CMO. Marketing executives find themselves in the exciting position of being able to take on new responsibilities and becoming the leaders of digital transformation in the 21st century- by orchestrating all of the specialized skills required for its development.

Increasingly sophisticated marketing specialties

Marketing is becoming professionalized and is calling for various specializations as markets continue to expand and become more complex.

Digital marketing requires mastery of the Internet and social networks, as well as the adaptation of marketing activities to new mobile media. This includes providing and coordinating multiple skills: establishing a digital marketing strategy, optimizing referencing through all available channels and search engines (SEO/SEM), implementing virtual communities and leading social networks in general, as well as developing new websites that take advantage of mobile interfaces to provide an increasingly efficient user experience (responsive design, etc.).

Content marketing that is directly associated with digital marketing, corresponding to the continuous production and publication of a set of value-added content, which accompanies customers in their buying cycles. This means starting with understanding their business issues and continuing with presenting the value of potential solutions. All of this should follow an effective format that synthesizes information and avoids jargon and promotional messages, which prove to be unnecessary sources of noise and inconvenience for the customer.

• Although product marketing is less visible, it is nevertheless essential: what use would it be to have access to global media if you don’t know how to identify your priority targets or differentiate yourself from the other players in your market? Whereas all of the information is immediately available, marketing must provide an overall view of the market, as well as understand how to position and organize the offering in terms of business solutions.

Operational marketing is adapting to new purchasing behaviors, but it is not being overshadowed by digital marketing. In fact, the opposite is true: operational marketing now combines the intelligent publication of content through social networks with a campaign and event plan that can generate sales leads (combing inbound and outbound marketing). Operational marketing actions do not change in essence; however, their organization relies on new medias (virtual conferences, social networks) or automated processes (thanks to marketing automation tools). More than ever, marketing must keep operational control of a process in order to automate it: this means understanding goals, actions to take and the messages that will be sent to those concerned.

A full and diverse toolbox

CRM has long been the only tool on which to base solid operational marketing activity. Today, new technologies and social networks have given rise to new categories of tools that are essential for marketing executives: marketing automation and big data analytics. Technology is now not only a potential source of productivity gains for marketing teams, but can also serve as a catalyst for new and improved results for the entire company by tackling completely unexplored areas.

An expanded need for consistency, or how marketing executives can become leaders of digital transformation.

In this new vibrant and multifaceted business environment, CMOs find themselves in a unique position to introduce the profound changes that companies must now come to terms with.

Three keys to assuming leadership

1. Give meaning to and provide content of messages for the communications department.

Social networks have fundamentally changed the roles of marketing and communications: by presenting all media and messages published by the company, they exponentially increase the need for content to be consistent. The CMO is now in a position to oversee the communications department by providing them with structured messages to disseminate, which are relevant in terms of its positioning.

2. Organize solutions and provide business content for the sales department.

When information and distribution networks may be directly accessed online or from a mobile device, the commercial activity of companies ultimately only means something for the complex sales of value-added products. The need to accompany customers by providing suitable answers for the problems they encounter creates new demands for sales departments. Marketing that analyzes customer needs and is familiar with the differentiators of solutions within a highly competitive market possesses key elements for the success of the entire sales team. By ensuring that the offering is properly structured in terms of business solutions and by accompanying the reflection of prospects through organized processes of lead nurturing, the marketing manager can initiate the foundations of a new marketing-sales relationship that increases sales results.

3. Identify tools and define their orchestration for the IT department.

New marketing tools no longer only aim to improve the performance of the marketing teams. They now represent new possibilities for the company’s entire business. Once again, the CMO becomes key in defining processes, as well as utilizing available information and qualifying business solutions that can support them.

Given the complexity of implementing so many specialized skills, a CMO can not do all of this alone: it is unrealistic to expect to find all the necessary qualifications in one person. It is through their ability to surround themselves with the right people that they may be recognized as true leaders. The marketing executive who manages to incorporate a wide range of useful talent into his teams by relying on specialized professionals (including external partners) is positioned to succeed in this exciting challenge and occupy an important position in the digital company of the 21st century.