Built for speed not comfort | Marketing in 2020
For any marketer who’s been in the game for longer than a couple of months, it’s been clear for a while that the pace of change has been accelerating. Changing consumer needs and behaviours, the fragmentation of consumer segments and the multiplication of sales and service touch points have all affected the way in which marketing is - or should be - run.
In an environment in which the goal posts always move and the CMO is one of the shortest-lived C-suite positions, with an average tenure of 3.5 years (half that of a chief executive), what qualities does a top-performing marketer need to boast?
First things first - the marketers’ top priorities are seeing a fundamental shift. While a couple of years ago, CMOs would have said that their number one target was brand building.
Nowadays, marketers are being held accountable for revenue targets as their main priority - and this translates into a massive shift in the way in which marketing activities are conducted.
"Today, marketers are responsible for acquiring customers, engaging those customers, increasing lifetime value and decreasing churn.” - Wendy Hogan, customer experience and marketing strategy director at Oracle APAC (Source)
As marketers, many of us go home for Christmas and find our families asking us yet again, ‘So what is it that you actually do?’ to which we (hopefully) ever so patiently reply by explaining yet again. The same needs to be done within companies. Now that the role of marketing in general and the CMO in particular has been broadened so much, a good starting point is one of extreme clarity. Clarify what it is that we actually do and what we are (and aren’t) responsible for - sometimes even to ourselves.
Looking at the marketing department from the outside, one of the perceptions that is often voiced is that marketing is a ‘black box’ that uses up resources with little to show for it. While the complexities of marketing may not be so easy to explain to the rest of the business, ‘translating’ it into the different departments’ languages is a good way to facilitate those conversations.
Going to the Account Management team to harass them about a new case study that you need to get live might not get as good a result as telling them that building a case study with the client is a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship and remind them how happy they are with our service. Also choosing metrics that are easy to explain and cut through the bullshit are the way to go. Make it easy for the other teams to understand the what & the why of what we do.
In the current environment there is an increasing need for ever more diversified marketing capabilities. Deloitte predict that companies will be forced to restructure their marketing and sales organizations by creating centers of excellence for key marketing capabilities and, perhaps, by outsourcing marketing activities requiring specialized skills. 75% of CMOs believe that the increasing specialisation of the skills needed will impact the way in which their departments operate. (Source)
McKinsey summed it up well: “What’s now required of CMOs is a broader role that realigns marketing with the current realities of consumer decision making, intensifies efforts to shape the public profiles of companies, and builds new marketing capabilities." For those of us still climbing towards the CMO position, we can still very much aim for the same things and show initiative in adapting the way in which we conduct the day-to-day.
The top marketers of today say…
Last month we had a chance to eavesdrop at the Lisbon Web Summit and hear what the top CMO’s have to say about their rapidly changing roles. Here are the highlights.
Kristin Lemkau, CMO at JP Morgan Chase
“If you are a basketball player, you need to get the ball in the ring. If you are a marketer, your job is growth.”
Meagen Eisenberg, CMO at TripActions
As marketers, the three pillars we need to hold on to tightly are product marketing, brand marketing and demand generation.
At the highest level, CMO’s need to inspire & lead. Show the leadership of your organisations that you’re leading, innovating, building the team - most of all, keep gaining knowledge. Demonstrate that you see what’s coming around the corner.
Understand the buyer and the most efficient way to get to them - there are lots of ways of reaching them now, so make sure you choose the right one.
Tom Klein, CMO at MailChimp
Simplify what marketing actually is - what are your responsibilities? What is marketing not responsible for? It’s useful to establish this with the rest of the C-suite.
Make sure you have proximity to the customer, empathise with them.
If you’re a CMO, you need to focus on aligning capabilities and resources to win in the marketplace.
Janine Pelosi, CMO at Zoom Video Communications
Above everything, marketers need to be lifelong learners; always business minded first, focused on revenue, targets, and working closely together with Finance.
Throughout your career, you will need to wear lots of different hats and stay motivated. Be okay with knowing that the role will be constantly changing.
Be extremely practical. Keep your head clear of all the new acronyms. Choose the tools and innovations that really are going to drive value.
Want to chat further? Find me on LinkedIn - I’d love to hear what you think about the changing role of marketing.
- The top priorities of marketing departments is changing, as well as the behaviour of our target audiences.
- In an environment in which the goal posts always move, the only constant is change. Marketers need to be adaptable above everything else - and demonstrate a strong growth mindset.