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5 Ways That the CMO Role is Evolving in a Digital, AI, and Client Experience World

5 Ways That the CMO Role is Evolving in a Digital, AI, and Client Experience World

5 Ways That the CMO Role is Evolving in a Digital, AI, and Client Experience World

Starbucks recently joined a wave of BIG companies, including UPS, McDonald’s, Hyatt, and Johnson & Johnson, that are shaking up their C-suites by eliminating or redefining the CMO role. Some of these firms are looking to cut costs and fight revenue dips. Others are rebuilding their internal hierarchy to aid expansion goals. But they’re all trying to stay ahead of the curve by reorganizing their marketing around AI advancements and a more dynamic customer service experience.

Ultimately, the titles assigned within a modern marketing hierarchy are less important than the responsibilities. Whether your company is best served by a single CMO or a team of marketing executives, mastery of these five roles is essential to Making BIG Happen.

1. Digital Ambassador

Marketers who still think they’re Don Draper, tossing brilliant ideas to subordinates on their way to a three-martini lunch, are leaving their companies vulnerable to disruption. While CMOs do need to have a BIG creative vision for the firm’s communication, they also need enough technical expertise to understand new technologies, identify potential implementations, analyze market trends, and troubleshoot problems.

The CMO also has to be able to translate the latest technical innovations to key stakeholders. In the c-suite, that means explaining what’s next and laying the groundwork for practical implementations, step-by-step. The CMO should also work with the CEO on internal and external messaging to keep customers, suppliers, shareholders, and board members aware of evolving digital strengths and innovations. A cutting-edge brand that achieves cutting-edge results will generate loyalty and drive growth.

2. AI Integrator

Perhaps more so than any other C-suite executive, the CMO has to have a good working relationship with the company’s top digital strategist, whether that’s a Chief Information Officer or, increasingly, a Chief AI Officer. That starts with creating an AI tech stack that’s collecting data from all relevant points of the sales and marketing funnels. Once that AI flywheel is humming, the CMO needs to be able to understand, interpret, and integrate some key insights, including:

  • Customer behaviors, such as spending patterns and FAQs.
  • SEO optimization. How can your content reach its intended audience more effectively?
  • Predictive analysis. What will your customers want? What purchases or investments will you need to make to deliver?

In order to focus in on the data that’s most important, the CMO should keep the company’s BIG goals front of mind. Don’t let lagging indicators create a false sense of security, and don’t follow superfluous trends toward dead ends. Any number that isn’t affecting your KPIs probably isn’t important, no matter how fancy the tech behind it may be.

3. Chief Experience Officer

Personalization and customization could be the future of sales and marketing. Companies that can leverage AI to appeal to and anticipate customer needs will be able to create a customer experience that’s both comprehensive and unique.

However, there’s a fine line between making customers feel understood and making customers feel like you’re spying on them. CMOs have to empower their teams to combine thorough AI analysis with human empathy to create customer interactions that are authentic. Rather than letting the numbers push stuff, CMOs should work with the sales team to translate data into customized solutions for personal and professional pain points.

Also, make sure those pain points don’t include your sales funnel. Analyze click maps, incentivize satisfaction surveys, and really listen to anyone who stays on hold long enough to complain to an actual person. CMOs should coordinate with customer service to remove any roadblocks that are making it harder, slower, or less convenient for people to find you and buy from you.

4. Chief Growth Officer

Folding marketing responsibilities into growth initiatives is one of the most common ways that companies are refining the CMO role. By expanding traditional marketing objectives beyond clicks, eyeballs, and awareness, companies can charge CMOs to strengthen the connection between communication and profit. This can lead to more effective uses of marketing dollars, as well as new synergies across the company.

A CGO-CMO might ask:

  • What kind of feedback did sales and customer service receive about our most recent campaigns?
  • Are marketing efforts delivering enough quality leads to our sales team?
  • What skill or knowledge gaps in my marketing team could I fill by creating new collaborations across departments?
  • How can marketing help R&D develop and test market new products or services?
  • Do I need to diversify my team to help marketing efforts reach a broader audience?
  • Do I need to replace any marketing team members who aren’t keeping pace with the company’s growth trajectory?
  • Are conversion rates justifying the marketing budget or are we chasing too many shiny objects instead of relentlessly targeting our ideal customers?
  • Is our marketing adapting quickly enough to market dynamics and customer trends? How could we drive those dynamics instead?

5. Acrobat

Business moves fast. The CMO has to be faster.

If AI is pointing toward an emerging market or customer need, the CMO has to translate that data into a targeting plan.

If the company starts trending on social media for the wrong reasons, the CMO has to help the CEO communicate responsibility, stability, and positive forward momentum.

If marketing, customer service, and sales are working at cross-purposes, the CMO has to refocus all activities around the only purpose that matters: sustaining profitable growth.

And if the company’s vision and values are stuck in the past, the CMO has to start a new conversation that will get internal and external stakeholders excited about the company’s future.

Rearranging the letters on C-suite doors might just be a fad. But creating a more holistic view of marketing could revolutionize how your company communicates, integrates, executes, and, ultimately, Makes BIG Happen.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.

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