The Future-Ready CMO


Effective marketing leaders often live in two realms—the present and the possible. A deep understanding of the customer can create a bridge between the two. 

Fueled by the rapid evolution of technology, marketing has changed dramatically in the past decade. What, then, do the coming years hold for CMOs? While the possibilities are endless, an increased focus on the customer is likely a safe bet.

Marketing isn’t simply about media and messaging, says marketing and communications consultant Mark Earls of Herd Consultancy. “More than ever, it’s about orientating all of the organization around what matters to the consumer,” he says.

This requires CMOs to develop a deep understanding of their audiences. “You have to understand the next consumer and reach the human knowing who she is, where she is, what she’s doing, and what her favorite colors are,” says Faith Popcorn, futurist and CEO of Faith Popcorn’s Brain Reserve.

For marketers, the challenge can be to hold that consumer’s attention for as long as possible in an increasingly noisy world. “We all have 24 hours in a day,” says David Shing, digital prophet at Oath. “That’s not going to change no matter what technology comes along.”

Preparing for the coming years can require CMOs to imagine the future while also achieving near-term objectives. “The decisions you make to be able to deliver results today can’t keep you from going where you’d like to go,” says Ben Gaddis, president of Austin, Texas, independent agency T3.

Mr. Earls’, Ms. Popcorn’s, Mr. Shing’s, and Mr. Gaddis’ participation in this article is solely for educational purposes based on their knowledge of the subject, and the views expressed by them are solely their own.

This article first appeared in

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