Marketers are increasingly harnessing the power of customer data and digital technologies to champion the customer experience.
But how do marketers need to adapt to cut it at board level as the role of CMO becomes more prominent?
Econsultancy’s latest research, The Role of Marketing On The Board, produced in partnership with Oracle Marketing Cloud, includes highlights from a series of in-depth interviews with senior marketers, the majority of whom are currently members of leadership or executive boards.
Here’s an overview of some of the findings.
Speak the right language (finance)
Speaking the language of finance (and IT) isn’t merely lip-service.
Marketers have to be able to distinguish between metrics useful at team level and those that are financially rigorous.
UK Government CMO Alex Aitken gives instructive insight from his role.
For marketing to succeed with skeptical politicians, it requires measurement and data which proves impact, not talk about assertion, reach and volumes.
Ultimately, marketers need an understanding of how all the elements under their guardianship, from campaigns to call centre resourcing, translate into the financial health of the business.
Be chief communicator
Multichannel sales and communications means that the marketer is increasingly an interface between the customer and several different parts of the company.
The marketer’s ability to communicate and liaise internally will prove vital in a new, integrated corporate environment.
Wear the data hat (and recruit well)
Thanks to ecommerce, margins and acquistions have now entered the domain of the marketer.
Overall business (online and off-) is moving more towards a data heavy environment, and marketers who have experience in digital should lead this change.
Generalists should seek to build teams of data scientists and marketing automation experts, with this new reality requiring specialists with functional skills, as well as generalists who are conceptually strong, data inclined, and focused on ROI.
Philip Almond, Director of Marketing and Audiences at the BBC, sums up his approach thus.
Data and technology are steep learning curves and that’s why I have a technology person alongside me.
We are probably the first generation of marketers where there are people who are a lot younger who know a lot more.
That requires a different style of leadership where it’s all about enabling. Sometimes, you do have to have dumb questions. But you still bring the strategic leadership.
Be prepared to lead tranformation
As brand strategy is evolving with the continued advent of technology, marketing is helping lead the translation of brand strategy to employee behaviors.
This occurs beyond the marketing department, with the goal of impacting every team in order to deliver superior customer experiences.
Understand international markets
Ecommerce is international, and while a company may only be focused on one region, an understanding of global markets is required.
Barnaby Dawe, CMO at Just Eat discusses the global challenges in his role.
Operating in 15 markets there are two key challenges. The first is that they are at different stages of the business lifecycle, from startup to very mature and the second is that the local, cultural nuances affect consumer behavior.
Champion company values
A review of The Cooperative Group was conducted following scandals including the practical collapse of its banking arm.
The review’s head, Lord Myner, stated that the current board’s expertise particularly in marketing came “nowhere near the required level”.
Organisations should recognise the power of marketing to steward a company’s integrity towards its customers.
In September 2015, the Co-Op addressed this by appointing former UK Government digital chief, Mike Bracken, to its group executive board.
The company’s group board saw Stevie Spring, former brand marketer and CEO of Clear Channel, appointed as an independent non-executive director.
Join a digital organisation
One finding from this latest Econsultancy research is the increasing likelihood that marketers in leadership roles have grown through the ranks in digital organisations or as part of the launch teams of startups.
The path to leadership is rockier in more traditional organisations.
For more insight into the role of marketing on the board, download our latest research.