It is no doubt the CMO role is evolving and changing and today marketers typically have responsibilities ranging across an average of nine distinct areas, said a recent report by WFA. These range from:
- Marketing strategy
- Data ethics
- Business growth
- Team capabilities
Many of these areas were also expected to become more important over the next five years, with 80% predicting that sustainability would grow in importance. The report further revealed that 77% predict a rise in the need to manage digital martech and platforms and 74% expect data ethics to become more important. Meanwhile, 73% expect data analytics to become more important, with 72% of CMOs expect customer experience and centricity to become an increasingly vital component of their work.
Alongside these specific areas, 71% of respondents also agreed that “general business acumen beyond marketing” is an important skill and 82% agree that “cultural sensitivity” is also important. Top mentions by CMOs for softer skills include curiosity, energy, passion and flexibility, all cited by 91% of respondents. The report, done in partnership with research agency 2CV and 28 national advertiser associations around the world, involved both CMOs at large multinationals as well as local marketing leaders who are members of national advertiser associations in 28 different markets.
In highlighting the critical role of teams, the report also reveals the increasing importance of soft, people-skills needed to manage both cultural differences between regions and markets as well as the interaction between central organisations and local market teams.
The report added that:
Asian marketers place less emphasis on the breadth of skills, where as European marketers put more value on short-term growth and sales ,and in the Americas, brand purpose and collaboration all over-indexed. The Middle East and Africa put more emphasis on leadership, digital skills and innovation.
Finally, the report also highlighted the power of marketing as a source of internal and external change. Purpose has been much talked about over recent years but the CMO is perfectly positioned to track consumer sentiment and help the wider business respond or even lead changes that benefit the wider community. About 84% think marketing should transcend business goals and have a positive impact on wider society and 92% agree that “using data in an ethical way is vital for the sustainability of digital marketing”.
Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA said soft skills are even more important than data understanding in ensuring the all elements of the team are working together for the common good. “The CMO is not dead, they are just being reborn in a new form. The truth is that the CMO is more important than ever as the conductor of the orchestra of marketing experts, both internal and external, both local and global,” he added.
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The WFA report comes following Forrester's “Predictions 2020: CMO” report which said that brands will be officially freed from the exclusivity of marketing. According to Forrester, eliminating the CMO position sets the brand free from the confines of marketing, reuniting it with the business. Over the past year, the industry has witnessed high-profile CMO roles being eliminated, including those at Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, and Netflix. As such, the remaining CMOs must now demonstrate the value of still having a chief marketer at a time when the need for one is becoming less obvious, the report added.