Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

The Evolving Role of the CMO

Part one of a multi-part blog series in which Pegasystems CMO Grant Johnson sits down with other CMOs and Industry experts to talk about burning issues that are top of mind for B2B and B2C marketers.

The CMO role is rapidly transforming, in large part due to the rapid pace that social, mobile, cloud and big data mega trends are becoming pervasive and changing the very nature of business. In this first installment, I spoke with three CMO thought leaders to better understand the most significant aspects of the new CMO role and what it takes to succeed in an increasingly digital world:  David Cooperstein, VP, CMO Practice Director, Forrester Research; John Ellett, CEO of nFusion and author of The CMO Manifesto; and John Neeson, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Sirius Decisions.

It became clear during the course of several dynamic conversations I’ve had recently that six key elements define the essence of the modern CMO, and how well they are put into practice can largely determine whether he or she will succeed in shaping company success or be relegated to the historical role of merely owning branding and communications.  I share many of the same views that my counterparts and I discussed, and there are many take-aways from each interview.

In the first part of this article, I will cover these first three key elements:  Old vs. New; Marketing Science; and Marketing Technologist.   In the second part, I’ll delve into the other three: Achieving Alignment; Business Partner; and Customer Driven.

 

Old vs. New

The old CMO was focused primarily on corporate marketing and strategic communications, without full operational responsibility or a regular seat at the table in the C-suite.   The new CMO is, according to Neeson, a “more cross-functional role that touches every part of the business.” CMOs now must be “constantly looking at things and evaluating from a strategy standpoint to determine what they can do better.”   To succeed in the new world requires not only a firm grip on navigating the complexity of the business environment, but also, according to Ellett, the ability to influence C-suite peers and “share insights across the organization that help shape both corporate strategy and operational excellence.”  It’s a balancing act to maintain an operational focus the keeps the engine running smoothly, while regularly looking over the horizon to what’s coming next, what to pay attention to and what to ignore, but the new CMO is figuring out how to do enough of both to increase impact on organizational growth and success.  It’s not for everyone, and becoming increasingly more digital and influential in business operations and outcomes is invigorating for many of us who are renewed in this process of evolving.

 

Marketing Science

In the old days, marketers could assert that “half of my marketing spend works, but I just don’t know which half.”   The rise of digital media, combined with the ability to measure the effectiveness of the increasing amount of digital marketing spend, means that marketers are now being held far more accountable for the results of marketing expenditures.  But it goes beyond just measuring marketing ROI.  Modern marketers need to become experts at understanding digital customer behaviors and in data mining so they can architect a customer strategy that maximizes the efficiency of how their company targets, acquires and grows customers and increases market share.  We are in the customer-driven era and the age of customer empowerment. According to Ellett, “this dramatic shift in power to the voice of the customer” means that marketing needs to become more science, and marketing needs to lead the company to “build out the capability organization-wide to be more responsive to customer voice and experience.”  He continues, “Marketers have traditionally been quite strong at persuasive communications and ideation.  The best ones have also excelled at understanding the customer mindset and leveraging agency partners to drive demand and increase influence.  The new CMO must now become as adept at analytics and data-based decision making as they have been at the more subjective art of branding and communications.” As Cooperstein states: “today, more than ever before, CMOs are being held fully accountable for the results of marketing activities.  This means we have to be more metrics oriented.  A lot more is required.  We’re seeing that working together is much better than working apart.”

Neeson, too, agrees, noting CMOs must not just “measure results, but also effectively communicate marketing’s value.”   Becoming more “scientific” can be daunting, however, having the evidence to objectively demonstrate marketing’s contribution to the business can also be very empowering.

 

Marketing Technologist

From a career path perspective, marketers traditionally have educational backgrounds rooted mostly in liberal arts, fine arts and communications, rather than science.   Some have progressed or transitioned into marketing careers from a more technical underpinning, such as computer science or engineering, especially in technology markets.   With the rapidly increasing role that technology plays in helping companies optimize their operations, engage with and convert customers, and build lifetime customer value, technology adroitness is now a mandate that all marketers can’t ignore.  According to analyst firm Gartner, by 2017, CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs.  Regardless of whether this prediction comes true, marketers have no choice but to become well-versed in technology.  They need to not only understand the broad range of technologies that can help the company compete more effectively (e.g. predictive analytics, social media monitoring, marketing automation), but also how to create a technology adoption roadmap.  Except for CMOs starting out at new companies, most of us have a technology infrastructure that is a collection of capabilities and not fully capable or integrated to serve current business mandates.  So it’s now required to closely partner with CIO peers to articulate a cogent roadmap to acquiring, improving and integrating marketing technologies that help the company meet its strategic objectives.  As Ellett states,  “technology has changed the way customers interact with information and how they choose to interact with companies,” so CMOs must now drive how technology is utilized, just as they drive marketing strategy and tactics, to ensure their company can successfully engage with the more empowered, digital, and social customer.

Because of these reasons and more, there’s been no better time to be a CMO.  Sure, current-day challenges are formidable.   But as all three interviewees note, the stakes are much higher in this era of digital marketing, and marketing has an increased ability to demonstrate intrinsic value to the entire organization.  I’ll hit on this and more in the second installment, focusing especially on how this new approach is driving several things, including tighter alignment of marketing, and the expanding role that customers are playing in marketing strategies, tactics and more.


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Grant Johnson

A dynamic, senior-level technology executive with a proven track record building businesses on a global basis. As Chief Marketing Officer for Pegasystems in Cambridge, MA Johnson is responsible for worldwide marketing strategy and execution. He oversees corporate marketing, field marketing, industry marketing, product marketing, marketing programs, marketing communications, analyst and public relations, and global web strategy. Previously, Johnson was the Vice President of Marketing at Guidance Software (GUID) and Vice President of Marketing and served as an officer for FileNet Corp., a $400+ million enterprise software vendor acquired by IBM in 2006. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Marketing for FrontBridge, an email management vendor acquired by Microsoft. Johnson led the company’s re-naming and re-launch, built the marketing team and delivered integrated marketing programs to support significant and sustained revenue growth. He has also served as Director of Marketing for Symantec, with worldwide responsibility for the Norton brand, and as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ethentica, an enterprise security vendor. Johnson received his bachelor of arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University. He has also published several articles on best practices in high tech marketing and co-authored the book, PowerBranding™

Latest Stories
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"WineSOFT is a software company making proxy server software, which is widely used in the telecommunication industry or the content delivery networks or e-commerce," explained Jonathan Ahn, COO of WineSOFT, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Sanjeev Sharma Joins June 5-7, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @Cloud Expo New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...