EconomyThe CMO is the new strategic partner of the...

The CMO is the new strategic partner of the CEO

(Expansion) – It’s amazing how the role of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officer or Marketing Director) has changed in almost a decade. If we take a look at the past, we will find data that would surprise us now.

For example, a Fournaise Marketing Group report, published in 2011, revealed that 73% of CEOs or Chief Executive Officers globally felt that marketers lacked credibility by not being able to prove the business impact of marketing.

Fortunately, the perception of this marketer has changed, due to his strategic role in connecting and creating relationships with customers, promoting new business models, aligning strategies to an increasingly digital and omnichannel consumer, but also because he now has of more effective tools to measure the success of their actions and demonstrate their impact on the business.

Today marketing has become a growth engine

Contrary to the perception of marketing initiatives and the role of the CMO, the CEO is now recognizing the potential of this area and its strategic role in aligning the brand, its products and services with market demands.

Under this premise, they are turning to marketing to drive their company’s growth agenda and giving CMOs the helm and support to do so. This shift in thinking is clearly reflected in a recent McKinsey & Company study, in which 83% of CEOs globally see marketing as a major driver of company growth.

Today we can say that his role has evolved substantially, increasing his visibility, influence and potential as a key leader for the growth and competitiveness of the business. What’s more, we could say that there has never been a better time to be a CMO and show what you are capable of.

New demands before a more strategic role

This new perspective on CMOs, as a strategic figure for business growth, also implies new challenges, since marketing teams need professional leaders who constantly improve their function, so that companies become increasingly demanding with expectations about their CMOs and the scope of their strategies.

As experts, they require certain essential competencies that are increasingly valuable, especially in business environments that demand strong leadership. Based on my experience and current scenarios, I can point out that some of these competencies are:

Adaptability, flexibility and agility. With an ever-evolving marketing landscape, these professionals need to be flexible to constantly adapt to new technologies, trends, regulations and consumer preferences, and to do so quickly. The methodology of using tried and tested tactics is now losing its effectiveness as everything changes rapidly; and now, they should be ready to experiment and adjust on the fly.

Analytical thinking. In this digital age, companies are recalibrating their marketing strategies to use data and analytics to optimize their competitive advantage. Data is “everywhere” and the CMO is expected to use multiple sources of data analytics and marketing intelligence to interpret it and help increase revenue. Today, the CMO has to take the initiative to drive digital transformation and become the digital evangelist that the company needs.

Willingness to take risks intelligently. Any CMO must have the ability to create campaigns that effectively resonate with consumers, especially now that the new consumer is looking for experiences, rather than products and services. To avoid becoming irrelevant, CMOs need to take risks intelligently and within a well-controlled and measured framework.

Combine traditional skills with digital ones. Even as the role of the CMO will continue to evolve, essential knowledge and skills will always be required to build a good brand, and these will need to be combined and strengthened with digital tools and skills. The CMO will have to know when and how to combine them to get the most out of it.

Business mindset. Having a broad business mindset allows you to work actively and contribute to business goals. It’s no longer just about achieving marketing objectives, it’s important that you demonstrate the value of your strategies in helping to achieve business goals.

Although there is no definitive formula for success as a CMO, from my perspective, these skills are the starting point to eventually become the strategic partner that every CEO needs to achieve their goals.

Will evolution continue its role? Of course, and perhaps faster than it has been so far. So to remain strategic leaders, CMOs will have to adapt to new, ever-changing, ever-infinite needs.

Editor’s note: Héctor Meza Curiel is CEO of InfoSol. Follow him on . The opinions published in this column belong exclusively to the author.

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