Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2021-06-30
If it feels like the marketing team keeps taking on a bigger share of the work and responsibility in your organization, it’s probably true. CMOs—and their teams—shoulder many of today's most important corporate responsibilities and initiatives, according to “Rate the State of Marketing: A C Suite Scorecard,” a new report from CMO Council and Chief Outsiders. The report surveyed a mix of senior executives from a variety of company sizes and industry sectors. Here are a few of my top takeaways:
This is one of the top trends we predicted for 2021 and while by now most businesses know how important digital transformation is—especially after living through the past 18 months—achieving digital fluency is hard. Digital transformation continues to be an imperative for businesses, especially in their marketing. The CMO Council report notes that the C-suite sees marketing as having gaps in the digital-first world and needing “functional modernization.” What stood out for me was they noted that CMOs need better use of customer data and more practice in making the financial case for marketing investments.
On this note, there are many ways marketers can step it up with data-forward strategies such as supplementing your customer data with third-party firmographic data, audience mirroring to find more prospects similar to current customers, intent data to find targets most likely in-market for your solution, and identity graphs, which bring together multiple data sources for convenient single-location access and application with campaigns delivered through a demand side platform. However you move forward with leveraging data better, it’s important to work with a reputable third-party data provider so you can count on the quality. And the provider should be able to share case studies and results from similar businesses they’ve worked with. Then you can take those examples to the C-suite to make the financial case including the return they can expect to see.
Gone are the days when the CMO, and marketers in general, were seen only as the “brand reputation custodian and value creator,” as noted in the CMO Council survey. That’s still a responsibility of course, but it’s behind other deliverables the C-Suite is expecting from the CMO. According to the survey, 80% of executives view revenue and sales growth as the top deliverable for marketing, 71% say customer acquisition and profitability are most important, and 62% view the CMO as customer experience advocate and champion.
Marketers today are expected to create a valuable brand, find customers, nurture demand, grow sales, and make the business profitable, all while keeping the customer’s experience their top priority. It’s clear the expectations are high.
According to the survey, more enterprise marketing organizations are using “fractional executives,” experienced consulting executives that can onboard quickly to learn the business, find new opportunities and inject a fresh perspective. I can relate to this line of thinking—it’s helpful to get an impartial view. You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s one of the reasons leveraging new marketing tools can be so game-changing. If you’ve always thought your best targets are ABC, but intent data tells you XYZ, then you’ve just opened the door to a whole new pool of prospective customers.
Despite the increasing expectations and digital gaps, the survey showed 69% of business executives being extremely or moderately confident in marketing’s ability to lead growth recovery in 2021. Go team! Additionally, 37% of respondents noted there was close collaboration and alignment between marketing and other departments and said that integration is getting better every day.
So consider this a pep talk. The increasing responsibilities and expectations come because marketing teams have proven valuable and capable. It may seem like the bar is set high, but with the right data, tools and outside perspective, marketers can continue to get results and drive business growth.
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