XL … Future CMO: How digital tech is reshaping marketing organisations

Disruptive trends are turning marketing inside out.

As we’ve been discussing throughout this series, big technology trends like Big Data, pervasive computing (mobile devices, Internet of things), and social media are driving higher consumer expectations. In this world, tried and true marketing principles not only don’t bene t brands, they can contribute to negative perceptions. The chart on the facing page summarizes some of the top-level disruptions that we and the experts we consulted have observed.

While these trends place pressure on marketers to adapt to outside competitive pressures and keep up with rapid innovation, they also place internal pressure on organizations and individuals who have planned their jobs around very different sets of assumptions. Among the challenges facing organizations in response to these changes:

  • Skills and talent: Can marketing organizations compete with tech and nance to recruit or develop the talent to adapt to changes in both the business and the culture of marketing in the 21st century
  • IT agility: Can marketing and IT organizations effectively collaborate to create solutions ahead of competitive pressures?
  • Agency ecosystem management: How can brands and corporate marketing departments recon gure their agency and vendor relationships to make sure they get the skills and services they need
  • Organizational structure and leadership: What changes to the traditional organizational structure and leadership roles might be necessary to align resources and accountability to the new marketing and business landscape?

In addition to the expanding list of responsibilities within the generally understood parameters of marketing, the role of marketing inside the enterprise is itself expanding and overlapping with other disciplines, intersecting and colliding at a number of touch points.

  • IT and marketing: The overlap between IT and marketing. is the most obvious and consequential challenge faced by organizations, especially as data analysis takes centre stage in so many market strategies. Who sets the rules on how that data is collected and managed? Who leads on how that data is applied both inside the business and in the development of consumer-facing apps? Just about every organizational leader we spoke to on both the marketing and IT sides of the business report they are grappling with these kinds of questions.
  • HR and marketing: Marketing already demands an uncommon mix of creativity, strategic thinking, and attention to detail. As the discipline becomes more technical and data- oriented, it also requires quantitative reasoning and hard data science skills. HR and marketing departments need to be in constant dialog to keep pace with escalating talent needs as job titles like content strategist, social media facilitator, marketing data scientist, and mobile app developer become more common in org charts across the business world.

  • Sales and marketing: The frontiers between sales and marketing have always been somewhat porous, especially since the advent of 1:1 marketing made possible by advances in data analytics, email, and e-commerce starting in the 1990s. Now Big Data creates the potential to personalize every marketing engagement according to a precise view of the customer and to target the delivery of marketing messages to the right time, place, device, and social context to in uence the customer at every point in the sales cycle. At the same time, the experience of customers after the sale plays an increasingly prominent role in marketing because of the rising importance of recommendations. The dissolving boundary between sales and marketing was the subject of some provocative presentations and articles in 2013 and promises to be a continuing theme in 2014 and beyond.
  • Operations and marketing: Operations, including product development, merchandising/retail, and service, meets marketing in the arena of customer experience. Ideally, excellent experience accrues favorably to the brand and validates/reinforces the message that marketing communicates through media channels. But with the advent of 24/7/365 conversations on social media, even the smallest operational shortfalls can become brand emergencies demanding immediate response. When the brand is exposed in this way, coordination between marketing and traditional operational areas is imperative.

The CMO role has become more expansive and more strategic as digital technology exposes more of the inner workings of the business to customer view. Marketing owns not only the customer experience, but also the response to any blowback from operations, product design, service, and internal policies, which influences market perception of the brand.

This research suggests the next 5–10 years will see a radical rede nition of the marketing discipline and the role of the CMO, bringing the institutional powers of the office into line with these rising levels of responsibility. At the very least, the CMO has or will soon become the dominant business voice around major IT investments. It is up to the CIO to demonstrate, and the CMO to recognise, the continued value of governance and platform strategy in order for this collaboration to be successful for the entire business.


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