4 Key Qualities of a CMO

A few years ago, the traditional responsibilities of a Chief Marketing Offer included leading industry research, developing marketing strategies, and facilitating company growth. Digital was one channel among many that CMOs had to “figure out.” Today, it’s the most critical component of marketing thanks to the mainstream adoption of smartphones, tablets, mobile apps, the Internet of Things, and virtual / augmented reality. CMOs are challenged by the transformation that’s happening right in front of their eyes. It’s a tremendous opportunity that impacts how they work.

Below are four qualities that every CMO or aspiring CMO must embrace to be successful today and to get ahead tomorrow.


1. Tech Savvy

The best CMOs in today’s highly competitive digital world think more like Chief Marketing Technologists. They know that technology enables — but does not replace — strategy. They have a firm grasp on what their strategies are, understand the gaps in their knowledge, and apply technology intelligently to fill in the blanks. They have become intimately familiar with marketing technologies including CRM software, data and analytics tools, and web, social and mobile solutions. According to Gartner, by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. That said, CMO is often well served by collaborating with the CIO to harness technology investments that drive customer loyalty and brand value.


2. Data Driven

Today’s digital marketing world generates tremendous amounts of data. Within this data lies valuable information that a CMO needs to understand to effectively manage marketing programs. CMOs must be data-driven and have the ability to review and interpret what data is actually being relayed to them and capable of identifying accurate limitations of the data; adjusting their approach accordingly. A solid understanding of analytics enables a CMO to comprehend consumer trends, assess consumers’ reaction to products, and understand the emotional and technical needs of consumers within a specific segment.



3. Customer Centric

As Forrester wrote a few years ago, “We’ve entered the age of the customer, an age where companies need to become customer-obsessed to compete.” Knowing whom their customers are, where they are, what they like, and how they feel has become critical to surviving in today’s business environment. That’s why CMOs must focus on the customer experience. The best CMOs take a customer-first approach to their role, investing in the experiences people have with their brands throughout the entire customer lifecycle, not just the traditional top-of-funnel interactions.


4. Open Minded

Gone are the days when advertising was the only way to market your product. Progressive CMOs are experimenting with new channels for reaching and interacting with customers and prospects. Whether using social, mobile, IOT, VR, games, or any other solution, the ability to apply the scientific method to figure out which channels work best for their business and how to allocate marketing spending is the most important skill digital-first CMOs need.

Today’s best CMOs are building an army of marketing technologists who strive to understand what tools can solve what problems. These CMOs and their teams are reimagining what marketing can do in a digital world and are crafting better campaigns, programs, and customer experiences than ever before. They’re speaking both marketing and IT and naturally seeing the connections between the two. And in a world of greater intersections between disciplines and functions—and the need to break out of legacy organizational silos—such roles really facilitate change.

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