CMOs Lead Into the Light


More than half of Europe could be infected with the omicron variant in the next six to eight weeks, the World Health Organization said this week. New daily cases in the United States are surging. There’s enough fear and uncertainty to make your stomach churn.

In our little marketing corner, which, admittedly, pales in comparison to the bigger picture, the dearth of live interactions spurred by the pandemic has many marketers concerned about a loss of connection with customers. 

Further, customer behavior continues to be wildly unpredictable. Customer loyalty is as fickle as ever. More than one-third of consumers continue to switch brands, which makes revenue growth a moving target.

These are dark times, indeed. Much is riding on the CMO to lead companies to a clearer, brighter future. Put another way, the road to revenue needs marketing street lamps. Nearly 80% of CEOs are looking to marketing leaders to drive revenue growth, according to McKinsey.

What’s the secret to regaining the C-suite’s trust, taking back the digital reins and leading the company in these uncertain times? Our CMO Council report has the answer: The best CMOs have figured out how to navigate the brave new world of digital and data through MarTech. They also have enough political savvy to form strategic alliances that marshal MarTech success.

This data and digitally driven marketing world was emerging gradually and then suddenly with the pandemic. Marketing and digital leaders have had to move rapidly to improve online purchasing experiences, from e-commerce website upgrades and home delivery improvements to buy-online/store-pickup models. The digital channel became paramount.

MarTech is the key to unlocking the digital channel through marketing automation and personalization, customer data analytics, and the digital customer experience. A good MarTech stack can map the way to revenue.

The CMO who masters MarTech can lead the company into the light. Those who can’t are relegated to throwing darts in the dark. The CMO Council found that 62% of business leaders consider the essential role of the CMO as “customer experience advocate and champion,” followed by “digital transformation and marketing automation leader.” Of course, this also means many business leaders see the CMO in a lesser role. 

Which one are you? We’ve found that CMOs who are most effective at leading their companies into the light have the largest MarTech stacks and spend the highest percentage of their marketing budget on MarTech. 

But these CMOs didn’t get to this point by chance. They had to show how their high-performing MarTech warranted more investment. This means delivering a track record of getting MarTech right. 

They accomplished this by forming powerful alliances with technology experts inside their companies — that is, the CIO and IT. The most effective CMO-CIO relationships revamped roles, responsibilities, decision-making structures and metrics in order to drive mature capabilities and higher MarTech performance.

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