Over the past 3 years, than ever before, the role of CMO has been through significant change and 2016 is shaping up to be no less transformative. Marketing professionals will be pressured to deliver measurable business outcomes, driving the need to formalise the customers’ path from digital marketing engagement to purchase. The role of the CMO is changing significantly and how! While a lot has been said and written about the strategic focus required by marketing heads in 2016, here is our immersive view of the same. This reflects the thoughts and opinions of marketing leaders, analysts and industry commentators!

CMO Revolution in 2016 - Kenscio

The 5 key trends predicted to drive the role of CMO to take you through 2016:

1. Get even more tech-savvy or make the CTO your BFF

Experts agree that technical and analytical skills top the most highly needed specialisations for CMOs in 2016. If you can’t do it yourself, make the CTO your most trusted ally!!
A marketing tech officer or specialist will be someone in high demand as CMOs realise the power of tech and how it can play a part in driving forward. One would need to see how to build those technical skills internally within the organisation or recruit them. The role of data-driven marketing, automation and lifecycle programmes and other innovations lean heavily on technology. As a result, to be successful as a CMO, having an analytical and technical background is becoming increasingly important.
The CMO is an important member of the executive board and has to work closely with the CFO, CTO, and CEO. For traditional CMOs, it’s indispensable to prepare to get on top of topics such as performance marketing, business intelligence, marketing automation, and at times even be able to perform basic SQL queries.

According to global director of a marketing automation company, CMOs are investing more time and resources into technology, and will soon have larger budgets than CIOs, if they don’t have already.
In 2015 Two-thirds of marketers planned to increase their technology spend and we believe that this perfectly mirrors the expansive marketing technology landscape we envisaged. Investment in technology is reaching new heights every year, and it’s all due to the new ways in which marketing teams are adopting technologies like CRM, CMS, marketing operations automation, data management platforms, search and social measurement tools.

2. Focus on Customer-obsessed growth via a Personalised approach

The next 12 months will see the” CMO working more closely with the Data & Analytics, BI, UX & UI teams together as predictions point to a widening in the customer obsession gap, according to Forrester. Leaders will graduate toward a customer-obsessed operating model, while laggards will aimlessly push forward with flawed digital priorities and disjointed operations.

In the analyst firm’s 2016 marketing predictions report, it claimed CIOs, CMOs and customer experience leaders will rally to achieve customer-obsessed growth by adopting human-centred design and data analytics to deliver exceptional experiences.
The marketer’s nirvana is being able to personalise. Being able to market exactly to the target customer. This would require the unification of data-booth demographic and activity level – around the customer, including social media, transaction activity, website clicks, downloads and more. Unified view of the customer and being able to address the customer-empowered with this knowledge is the path to communication nirvana.

3. The growth of Mobile and Social Channels

While Traditional Digital Channels (yes there are some ! ) continue to evolve alternate channels viz. mobile & social will be far more significant in 2016. Mobile innovations continue to fuel opportunities for greater reach and better customer experiences – mobile first services & solutions are expected to continue into 2016 as customers demand a more seamless fully digital experience. In the face of this fresh mobile wave, CMOs need to have a mobile-first mind-set in order to be nimbler and agiler moving forward. Examples of this are evident in the mobile payments space as digital wallets gain traction.
Moving away from traditional marketing to digital marketing front, marketers need to think about how they start engaging across multi-channels more effectively. Addressing customers’ A-I-D-A on a mobile device alone is a lot harder, so the choice of channel is equally important hence Social Engagement.
In fact – it is advisable to create a communication strategy to be able to optimise conversion across the board and to not treat social networks, emails, SMS, calls, and other channels in an isolated manner. CMOs must get their teams to understand – Cross Device Behaviour, Unify consistent communication across touch points and measure performance as well as efficacy of each channel for each customer thereby aim to communicate with each customer in the way that they would most like to hear from the brand.

4. Evaluate a mixed Click & Brick approach

Access anywhere – anytime is what the customer expects in 2016 and the CMO has to think on those lines. Marketers in the retail space will need to embrace Omni-channel strategies if they want to face the challenges of these new behaviours. As expectations evolve when it comes to delivery – for example, the increasingly popular ‘click and collect’ option, could be an option. Some delivery examples like Tube / Underground Metro routes have been tested and worked very well in 2015.
Using Omni – channel strategies – to meet the demands of the modern consumer – enables the design of ultra-personalised and effective loyalty, as well as targeted promotions that will increase sales. There will be a strong need for marketers in the retail industry to employ substantial omnichannel and cross-channel solutions in order to meet the demands of the modern consumer. CMOs will
need to explore In-store technology & experiences that will create a seamless journey for the customer regardless of how they interact with the brand.

5. Innovate to differentiate

It’s the same target customer that every brand is targeting. How then would the CMO get his dollar to go a longer distance? Not just that. This dollar needs to work harder than and before the other guys’ does.
With all things being equal the only differentiator available is Innovation. The approach could be Disruptive, Tactical, Technical, Immersive, Omni-Channel, Multi-Channel, Traditional + Digital, Global + Local – regardless. The vital ingredient that will differentiate winners from laggards will be Innovation. CMOs need to focus on harnessing technology & channels, knowledge & information to deliver innovation. While the technology is there to complement and support existing marketing efforts, we are seeing the rate at which technology is evolving is also pushing CMOs to think, plan, engage and most importantly innovate with customers in new ways.
Partnering with leading Innovative solution providers recognised innovators and thought leaders is the ideal head start that a CMO can give his/her brands.
The New Year brings 12 months of constant change, 52 weeks of innovation, 366 days of collaboration and strongest bond yet between the Dual helix of Marketing & Technology in the DNA of the CMO. May the force be with us!!

Amit Sarna
Vice President – Client Success & Partnership
Kenscio Digital

Share