How millennial CMOs are the key to driving business change

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Not so long ago, Gartner predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs have ever done. Whilst vice president Jennifer Beck, made it clear that this does not mean the CMO will take over the CIO’s role, it does mean that those in control of marketing will become more data driven and will inevitably grow more technically minded. With this in mind, CEOs will come to support the CMO’s ability to utilise new technologies to generate faster ROI for marketing spend.

It is clear that digital transformation is becoming a high priority for CMOs. Only recently we’ve seen the likes of River Island discuss their plans to focus on digital in order to “drive the firm forward”, and even the NHS is being handed £4.2 billion by the government in a bid to bring the health service into the digital age.

However, despite this shift in priority, it’s worrying to see that only 44% of business leaders say that they work for companies where digital disruption is a board-level concern. This statistic suggests that those who hold this belief have got the wrong marketing representation at the board table, as old-guard CMOs are usurped by the millennial.

With prominent big brands placing so much emphasis on this area, it is vital that businesses have the right board representation to make sure that digital transformation becomes a key priority and follow the lead of these larger players.

Growing the skill set of the CMO

CMOs are unique in their offering to the business - they are able to deliver technical intelligence instantly whilst also being able to anticipate consumer trends quickly, and subsequently comply vital information across the business. With this skill set, marketing technology budgets have rocketed - according to the World Economics Global Marketing Index, Europe now has the most ‘buoyant’ marketing budgets.

As these budgets grow, there has also been a shift in the allocation of funds. The World Economics Global Marketing Index has also noted the increased allocation of budget to digital and mobile efforts. With this, we’ve seen personalisation tools and intuitive CRM databases emerge, as standard bearers of a raft of technologies that are designed to maximise impact, but which require a low level of commitment and effort to maintain. Gone are the days where it’s necessary to rely on outdated and archaic legacy systems.

By utilising these tools, the speed to market and ROI have afforded the CMO with valid data that has the ability to prove the real value of marketing to the business, and subsequently, has created a greater role for the CMO within organisations.

No place for the old-guard CMO

As the digital world evolves, there is simply no place for the old-guard CMO. We’re seeing a new generation of marketers emerge, to whom digital is second nature, and keeping up to date with tech trends is a day-to-day ritual. This millennial CMO has their finger on the pulse when it comes to changes in consumer habits and technology, and understands the accelerating need for transformation.

Rather than viewing ‘going digital’ as an option, these millennial CMOs view it as a necessary move and will be well versed in the strategic rationale for technology. As a result, they’ll be able to implement technology that will impact the business as a whole, putting them in a strong position between the theorists and the experts on the IT team.

Most importantly, they will have the ability to prove marketing’s real valueback to the business, being able to show clear, unequivocal ROI. As this begins to shine through, the millennial CMO will continue to embrace consumer technology trends, allowing them to justify higher budgets in return.

Consolidation of marketing platforms

With marketing personnel evolving, we’re seeing their departments performing more strongly than ever; becoming leaner, quicker and much more efficient and effective.

By engaging and converting target audiences to consumer expectations, there has been a dramatic increase in the different technology platforms that marketers are using - a trend that is unlikely to disappear.

At the start of the year, we predicted that the growing number of marketing technology platforms available would drive consolidation over the next three years, as people try to integrate systems in an attempt to provide a seamless experience.

In order to adapt to this new world, businesses must ensure that they are truly digital in all aspects. Marketers who are managing numerous campaigns over multiple channels must be able to understand the role that each one is playing in their and the wider business’s strategy, ensuring that insights delivered by one platform are shared with others across the organisation, thus developing a single view of the customer that everyone can use.

It’s no surprise that consumers expect every touch-point to be seamless, relevant and effortless, whichever form of device they are using. This essentially means that digital is not just a mere update, or an add-on to existing offerings, but the future for businesses and needs to be evolving constantly.

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