The chief marketing officer's role is evolving to take on more of an IT perspective—not just in theory, but in actual budget allotment, IT decision making responsibility and CEO mandates for business growth. The trend is blurring the lines between CIO and CMO responsibilities within the enterprise, requiring better collaboration between the parties to break down information silos and forge optimal solutions.
I will examine various aspects of the changing CMO role in a five-part series, starting here. My aim is to show CIOs, CMOs and CEOs how this is the right move right now for companies striving to improve customer experience in the digital age—and how to successfully negotiate the transformation.
The IT and Marketing Merger
As businesses respond to the digital transformation of the marketplace and, in turn, the changing buying habits of consumers, CIOs are learning that marketing technology selection requires a clear picture of marketing’s strategic direction, goals and business requirements. For their part, CMOs have begun to understand that IT is instrumental to developing and executing marketing strategy.
The education began several years ago. As IT was called upon more to push out technology-based services (e.g., mobile apps, websites and portals) to the customer base, the CMO’s ability to ensure a consistent brand message began to unravel.
This wasn’t lost on CEOs, who began to notice a disconnect between what marketing was doing with respect to company campaigns and what IT was doing with respect to the products it was building. Looking at the overall picture and how customers were interfacing with their companies, CEOs saw that consumers were being asked to work too hard along the customer journey to ascertain brand value and reach a purchase decision. They began to ask how the customer journey could be simplified and improved.
On their end, CMOs responded to the chink in brand image and voice by insisting on having input into any new technologies that customers would be experiencing. Meanwhile, IT was blossoming into an internal product house for apps and other solutions to meet digital demands.
The goal became to pull the two divisions together so that the marketing message and the outward presentation of the products/services to customers consistently offered one valuable and relevant brand image.
The CMO’s Pumped Up Role
In this way, CMOs became responsible, in part, for all customer-facing solutions, in addition to their traditional directing marketing campaign responsibilities. In most cases, this means the revamped CMO role requires a skill set that includes data, science and technology as the backdrop to any creative marketing program.
To successfully engage more consumers, today’s CMOs must, essentially, steer their large organizations to behave more like agile and responsive startup companies, such as Airbnb and Uber. This is not an easy task in enterprises that have a lot of people working in traditional roles. After all, in smaller businesses with far fewer hats in the ring—maybe the founder/CEO, the tech guy who’s building the products and a marketing/sales guy—tying all the pieces of brand presence together happens organically.
To better serve customers by addressing their needs, CMOs must be comfortable employing technological tools and methodologies that integrate big data, social networks, mobile technologies and digitization to enable them to gain valuable insights from their organizations’ solution stacks. They then have to turn these insights into actionable marketing initiatives that will drive sales.
What’s more, the CMO needs to control internal systems so that all employees receive the same messaging internally that customers are seeing externally. Everyone needs to be indoctrinated with the same terminology and the same brand message to ensure that it has the greatest capacity to resonate with consumers.
These are the factors that have elevated the CMO role to one of greater complexity, including responsibility for business growth that is now reliant on delivering a stellar customer experience and building loyal customer relationships.
Zang Cloud is helping CMOs meet the objectives of their new responsibilities and achieve excellence in technology usage. Our all-in-one platform is a simple but sophisticated way to add communication tools to applications—even for individuals with no developer experience. Such app enhancements, including softphone implementation, integrating push notifications, automated SMS alerts, chat support through bot messaging and much more, are easing and encouraging customer engagement with brands.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our series, in which I will address the ways CMOs can maximize collaboration with CIOs and leverage technology to achieve their goals.