NEW YORK: The growth of digital means that chief marketing officers (CMOs) face a period of rapid adjustment as their roles evolve and new expectations are placed on them, a study has suggested.

Deloitte, the consultancy, and ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, the customer relationship business, surveyed 228 global marketing leaders for the report – Bridging the Digital Divide: How CMOs Can Rise to Meet Five Expanding Expectations – which identified five expectations for CMOs in the coming year.

Some 53% of respondents said that greater responsibility for revenue growth had been a challenge. "Marketing may be signing up for big numbers, but the customer purchase journey is splintered across product, sales, and service," the report noted.

This in turn meant, according to the report, that CMOs should own the customer experience. Some 38% of them highlighted the greater customer service role they now faced, but 23% added that they did not feel adequately prepared for this.

Data acquisition was a top internal marketing priority for the year ahead, cited by 61%, but, again, it was an area where many (32%) felt ill-prepared and wanted more talented personnel to help translate insight into action.

To get the most from these people, the report said that CMOs should make additional investments in tools that supported real-time customer-facing efforts in web personalisation and marketing automation. Currently just 16% used web personalisation frequently although 50% said they planned to do so.

The final point made in the report – that CMOs needed to master the metrics that matter – completed a circle, bringing them back to the need to show revenue growth. For just over half (53%), ROI was the most important metric used to measure success, followed by engagement rates (42%) and conversion rates (39%).

The complex new world of the CMO was summed up by Michael Lazerow, CMO, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, who said that many "find themselves with one foot in branding, one in the post-digital world and one hand on a compass trying to figure out what's next".

Moreover, because of this need to constantly assess and adjust to a host of factors, including consumer changes, channels, devices, competitors, brand, and market share, there was no single route to success and CMOs would have to chart their own path.

"The bridges built between the role's growing gaps can be as innovative as the CMO who built them," the report concluded.

Data sourced from Deloitte, ExactTarget; additional content by Warc staff