Chief Marketing Officers
The four challenges faced by CMOs include driving growth, cutting through the clutter by delivering a powerful brand, securing marketing budget, and proving ROI of marketing activities. This research provides a detailed analysis of these challenges with statistical insights for each.
Challenge #1: Driving Growth
- Over the years, the role of the CMO has been constantly evolving and expanding, as the digital world advances. The responsibilities include owning the customer experience, tracking consumer interaction, demonstrate the necessity for marketing efforts, and drive revenue/growth.
- In the report published by CMO Council and Deloitte LLP, it addresses how balancing the diverse roles of a CMO can be a struggle. This survey reveals the gaps that exist within these responsibilities. An example here is how 65.7% of CMOs would prefer to spend a majority of their time with other C-Suite leaders to ensure the consistency in business and brand strategy. Unfortunately, only 16% are successful in this venture.
- While 57.8% would want to focus on strategic priorities, only 39.6% allow the brand narrative to naturally evolve. However, they spend 44.6% of their time reviewing plans and approving them, creating budgets, and assessing campaign elements.
- Often, CMOs do not stay in one job position as they are unable to ensure growth. The company overall growth is of paramount importance in comparison to other aspects of growth within the department.
- Marketing plans should be aimed at enhancing/impacting the growth of revenue and customer count. This birthed the idea of CMOs being replaced by Chief Growth Officers. One company that implemented his in early 2019 is the candy company, Mars. The company appointed a CGO in order to reframe the marketing efforts with a focus on growth. CGOs align with business objectives and the operational and channel-specific KPIs. This growth-focus aligns the CEO's goals with the CMO's strategy.
- According to LGIAsuper’s Andrea Peters, there is a significant misunderstanding of a company's CMO function and reality. Depending on factors such as company maturity, size, and industry, "there is a consistent challenge, in organizations, between what areas are responsible for, versus what they are accountable for."
- Peters believes that the new role of CGO will not only create a buzz for this sector but will also allow leaders to address accountability and responsibility.
Challenge #2: Delivering a powerful brand
- As addressed above, 65.7% of CMOs would prefer to spend the majority of their time with other C-Suite leaders to ensure the consistency in business and brand strategy. Unfortunately, only 16% are successful in this venture.
- There is a significant gap between the strategic priorities of CMOs and their daily routines.
- Professor Eric Bradlow, faculty director of the WCAI, stated that “Marketing builds brands. Time kills brands.” Consumers are persuaded by the experience rather than only the product. A dynamic and fluid interaction enhances the brand image. Building and maintaining a brand is the top-most challenge faced by CMOs today.
- Jeff Fromm, a contributor to the CMO Network, addresses how focusing on the purpose of the brand is critical. It is beneficial to the general health of the community and assists costumers in addressing social issues, resulting in purpose-driven brand actions.
- Purpose and profit work hand in hand, delivering higher commercial success. One example is various companies under the Unilever umbrella. These companies focus on sustainability.
Challenge #3: Securing a marketing budget
- CMOs are tasked with the responsibility of securing the marketing budget. This means that they will need to provide tangible proof of the impact the marketing efforts will have on the company. As this takes up a lot of time, it creates a gap between the expectation of other C-Suite leaders and the hurdles that the company may face when implementing these strategies.
- As discussed earlier, 44.6% of CMOs spend the majority of their time addressing factors such as budgets, approving plans, and campaign elements.
- According to Emarsys, it is difficult for CMOs to accurately prove the financial benefits of any marketing project. It is not an easy connection between the benefits and the spending. For this reason, it is easy to blame this department and its head as one cannot present the financial impact of marketing projects, connecting the efforts to the company objectives.
- Research has revealed that within the past two years, the marketing budgets have decreased. For this reason, CMOs are forced to prioritize market research and analytics and competitive insights.
Challenge #4: Proving the ROI of marketing activities
- It is difficult to demonstrate the ROI of marketing activities as one can only predict consumer reaction to a limited level of certainty. CMOs are expected to attribute the contribution of their departments toward the company revenue.
- Just like every other department, marketing has to prove its worth and justify its spending by correlating that with new business generated. Identifying this as an asset and not an expense could be critical in addressing any issues.
- With the help of various technological tools, an analysis of data can reveal the sophistication of the platforms used and have a general sense of how these marketing efforts generate quality leads.
- Due to the lack of a direct line between what CMOs are doing and the results, their jobs are the most volatile. Below, we can see examples of some popular brands that have had a shift in leadership within a twelve-month period.
- As 60% of professionals in marketing are constantly faced with the task of proving ROI, significant improvement has been seen over the years: 16% in 2014 to 25% in 2018. As more and more efforts are put in place to market online, addressing the ROI is ever more important.
Our research team was able to provide insights into the top challenges faced by CMOs today. This analysis was able to provide all the requested information for some challenges. In situations where we were unable to address the aspect of the request, we expanded the scope slightly and still addressed these issues. We have gathered insights from across industry reports, publications, news media, and market research sources in order to present a comprehensive report.