The job is “always-on” in a digital world that is in constant flux and always on the go. There’s unrelenting pressure to demonstrate accountability for dollars spent to drive business from consumers who now exert greater influence on brands than ever before. It’s the job of the Chief Marketing Officer.
The challenges facing these executives are many and are a direct result of a buyer-seller relationship turned upside down. The TV-centric consumer who passively took in brand marketing messages is a thing of the past. Twenty-first Century consumers—primarily millenials—have the upper hand as it is their behaviors that are pushing marketers to re-conceptualize how to position a brand, how to reach customers with a marketing message, and how to maintain engagement with customers over the long-term.
The Big Picture: It Ain’t on TV
As audiences for traditional media continue to rapidly decline, CMOs are challenged with attracting loyal customers through digital platforms that are themselves persistently changing formulas. There is constant pressure to innovate and develop brand-messaging and entertainment experiences that consumers want to share and follow. And they need a means for monitoring and being able to capitalize on audience reactions to products, campaigns, and media messages across a variety of digital platforms.
Challenge: What’s the Payoff for the Brand?
CMOs and their teams are being challenged to staff and resource digital marketing programs, integrate offline and online campaigns, as well as integrate data sources and go-to-market processes. They have to effectively demonstrate how digital marketing campaigns will drive business, increase long-term customer value and retention, and create opportunities for growth for the brand.
Along these lines, there is the challenge of establishing relationship marketing across digital channels and facilitating the capture and analysis of real-time customer behaviors, blog activity, and purchasing patterns.
Challenge: Predictive Metrics of Consumer Behavior
Tracking these patterns has, perhaps, become the biggest challenge in the CMO’s mobile media mix. Digital sales generate an immediate imprint, but tracking digital sales is only one pixel in the big picture.
Understanding the consumer’s process in arriving at the moment where they clicked the "buy" button has become invaluable to analyzing results and making predictions about future behavior. Oh, and that brings up the need for predictive metrics—a still evolving area of quantification and analysis.
Challenge: Security of Customer Information
If all this isn’t enough, the need for security of customer information is paramount. Security breaches can cost a company millions of dollars and can destroy brand trust. Prevention, plus containment, restitution and preservation of brand reputation in the event of a breach must all be planned for ahead of time.
This requires a proactive role to ensure security policies and messages are aligned with the brand and across organizational lines--from the executive suite to the warehouse shipping line. CMOs need to be ever more versatile, innovative, and adaptable in how they handle today’s digital media challenges.
Meeting these challenges begins with hiring the right team of creative and technically savvy marketers who also understand the culture of doing business in a digital world. CMOs need to educate senior leadership about assets and limitations of available predictive analytics tools in view of the emergence of so many new digital platforms and social networks from which data can be aggregated.
Collaboration on setting priorities toward a cohesive strategy that leverages digital media, Big Data, and creates value for customers at every step of their journey are essential to staying thriving amid the challenges of marketing in the millennial world.
- 'The CMO Revolution: 10 Challenges That Will Rock The Marketing World In 2016,' Forbes
- Who Would Ever Want to be a CMO: The Challenges of Marketing in an Always-On World (PDF). Harter, Gregor, speech presented at 2008 CMO of the Year Ceremony, adapted for print by Booz & Company.
- Quantify How Well You Unify. CMO Council
- How to Use Predictive Analytics. Business2Community.com
- Building Consumer Trust: Protecting personal data in the consumer product industry.
- 'Top Challenges for B-to-B CMOs in 2016: Customers, Data and Content,' AdAge.com