Forrester’s: 2018 will see chief growth officers replace CMOs

Forrester have released their predictions for what 2018 will hold, ranging from retail to GDPR.

In the world of CMOs, the company has predicted that marketing meetings in 2018 are going to dominated by one word: ‘growth’.

But not normal growth, CEOs are all going to be after the elusive ‘disruptive growth’. In a commercial landscape coming to be defined by rapid consumer-driven change, CMOs will be under pressure to make sure their organisations stay ahead of the curve.

Forrester’s four main predictions for what 2018 holds in store for CMOs are:

The rise of the CGO

The focus on disruptive growth will lead to a rise in prominence of central growth officers (CGOs), which Forrester sees as replacing CMOs in many instances.

With CEOs feeling the pressure to bring an end to slow growth will look past CMOs and “install executives with broader remits”.

CGOs should have all CMOs worrying as the decision to bring in a person focused purely on growth can only really seem to be a reaction to there not being enough growth in the first place.

Big players such as Coca-Cola have already put the CMO position out to pasture in favour of CGOs, which seems to be the crest of a new trend. In the words of Forrester, CMOs can only halt this trend by “leading strategic growth initiatives”.

Investing in experiences

Following in the footsteps of P&G and Chase, many CMOs will be tasked with achieving more while allocating less to ad budgets. People are responding less and less to the interruptive advertisng forms that have dominated budgets in the past.

Instead, CMOs are now having to manage brands more holistically with a big focus being on creating consistency between what a brand says it is going to do and the actual experience it provides to consumers.

CMOs are going to have to think about CX a lot in 2018, or as Forrester puts it:

“This means optimising ad spend and reinvesting in high frequency, emotion rich, connected experiences.”

Tech budgets continue to rise

As marketing tech budgets continue to grow, CMOs are not going to be able to buy technology indiscriminately before “passing the buck to their CIO peers to handle the inevitable problems such bad habits yield”.

Bigger budgets mean more responsibility and more accountability for how technology is used, which means that CMOs are going to need to have carefully thought out and coherent strategies in place.

Tech is the mediator

It was once thought that technology would bring the brand and the consumer much closer together. This could turn out to be utopian thinking, however, as customers have adapted their behaviours to harmonise with technology and maintain a healthy sense of distance from brands. 2018 will see CMOs trying to think of ways that they can create beneficial relationships with consumers in the space where technology such as Siri and Alexa are becoming more and more prevalent as mediators.

Forrester concludes the report by saying that this shifting landscape presents ambitious and creative CMO’s a chance to shine. Those that embrace change and refocus their strategies around using marketing to drive growth will rise to prominence.

The report concludes:

“The CEO disillusionment with marketing may just be the impetus for the broader CMO remit you crave – a strategic, organizational, and technological mindset guided by your empathy for a customer who will absolutely demand this level of intention in 2018.”

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