CMOs struggle with growth demands

08 December 2016

SAN JOSE, CA: There is an increasing expectation among the C suite that chief marketing officers (CMOs) will drive growth and create business value, but a new study suggests that CMOs themselves are uncertain as to how they can best deliver on this.

The CMO Council and Deloitte surveyed more than 200 marketing decision makers across all industry sectors and geographies, supplemented by qualitative interviews with 16 global CMOs for the report The CMO Shift to Gaining Business Lift.

Nearly 70% said there was either a clear mandate or a high level of expectation among their senior management teams and board members that marketing should be the growth driver and business value creator in their organisations.

But when asked where they spend their time or what methods they are using to drive revenue and improve margin, few senior marketers surveyed appeared to be focusing on areas that a business might associate with driving growth.

For example, only 6% said they were defining routes to revenue across all facets of their business globally. And just 8% were looking for new ways to recover, reactivate and re-engage lost, languishing or dormant accounts.

There were similarly small proportions engaged in auditing, assessing and continually improving the customer experience (8%) and in looking for strategic partnerships, alliances and acquisitions (7%).

Ten per cent had embraced customer-direct e-commerce channels and new monetisation programs to upsell and cross-sell based on intimacy and context.

"CMOs now have to show they are impacting business growth right from the outset, or they are likely to be short-lived on the job," noted Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, who believes they will need to embrace a new crop of revenue-centric analytics platforms (in an emerging RevTech category) to make this happen.

Marketers also need to get on top of their day job of quantifying and communicating the business value and financial impact of their campaigns and investments.

Less than a quarter of respondents believed they were doing this extremely well or quite well. In contrast, nearly 30% were still putting measurement systems into place or had no solution for tracking business outcomes.

More than half of CMOs surveyed planned to rethink priorities and deliverables, while 49% indicated they would be delegating more authority as they adapted to the demands being made of them.

Data sourced from CMO Council; additional content by Warc staff