Does your future CEO come from marketing?

Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Traditionally, the CEO has come from just about any place, but marketing. Companies bent on operational excellence might look to their finance teams or their COO to take the top slot. Organisations focused on innovation might look to a CTO type. Those focused on market share fished in their sales pool for their next big tuna. But rare was the organisation that focused on the dynamic relationship between company and customer. Is it time for a marketing CEO? There are strong indicators that the role of the CMO and the marketer is shifting today. Where marketing was once seen as an art form, new technologies and advancements have allowed markers to be more fact based than ever before. Where marketing was about creative; today it is about business value. What once was seen as sales accelerators are now lifetime value enhancers. In the race to the top slot in the company, marketers were always relegated to drive ‘Herbie the Love Bug’ at the Grand Prix Monaco. Now, marketers are armed with the tools and technologies to give them a real shot at the race.       CMO – Moving up in the ranks “When Gartner predicts that by 2017 the CMO’s technology budget will exceed that of the CIO, and that 25% of the enterprises will have hired a ‘Digital CMO,’ a Chief Digital Officer, by then Gartner is, in fact, extolling the virtues of earned media. Search, Social, and Content Marketing lay the foundation for the growth and rise of earned media,” posits Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge and leader of Share13, the premier event run by digital marketers for digital marketers in San Francisco August 22-23. The future for the marketer is near and dear to Jim as he and the team bring marketers together from organisations like Google, Bing, Microsoft, and SAP to interact with global brands like Gap, Macy’s, Hilton, Symantec, and EA to discuss the blurring lines between B2B and B2C for these world-class organisations. As the CMO looks to surpass the CIO in terms of budget, so will come a new level of accountability. This budget comes with strings and marketers will no longer be able to rely on ‘guesswork’, or as Edwards Deming opines, “In God we trust. All others bring data.” The future marketer needs a skill-set rooted in data, analytics, and business operations. “Just driving leads is insufficient for the needs of the organisations. They will demand both accountability and relationships with customers in a new era of digital transformation” says Andy Betts of BrightEdge.       Company looking for LTR must love long conversations and long walks on the beach The future marketer will know that as B2B and B2C blend, the real metric is going to be lifetime value for the customer. How can you build a mutually beneficial, long lasting relationship with a customer? How can you measure that? One way to approach this is to holistically reshape the marketing organisation or even be bold and reshape the entire company around social business processes. Helping the organisation see that new tools and technologies now allow companies – who are willing to take the leap – the ability to develop real long term relationships with customers. The entire organisation makes the switch to become customer centric and will use tools ranging from strategic search to targeted content. The future customer will be won by truly conversing with them. Andy Betts adds, “Adapting to a more holistic way of structuring how we present our products and services is no longer an ‘added value’ service but a necessity.”       Marketing strategy is openly ‘shared’ today What is truly great about these conferences and networking events, like what Jim and the team has created with Share13, is that it gives marketers the opportunity to share their ideas and strategies with other marketers, and to engage in open dialogue around these ideas. What is openly discussed today will be a strategic competitive advantage tomorrow, much like e-mail marketing and click thru rates (CTRs) are placed in the company vault and guarded like the secret formula for Coke (which we all know is written on the back of the Declaration of Independence along with the floor plan of Amelia Earhart’s pied.