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StrategyNov 25, 2019

5 Things High-Performing CMOs are Thinking About

Sarah Bruner

Being a chief marketing officer is more challenging than ever. The pressures of delivering measurable business results for investors, navigating increasingly fragmented customer segments and channels, and keeping up with an uncertain business climate can leave chief marketing officers (CMOs) feeling drained and alone.

That’s why Credera created the Strategic Forum Program. These invitation-only Forums bring together C-level executives from several disciplines to learn from each other in an environment built on deep relationships and shared challenges.

Our CMO Forum gathers CMOs from a wide variety of industries to share their experiences and discuss current challenges. During the last 18 months the CMO Forum has talked through a variety of topics.

Below are five robust topics and strategic questions that led to compelling and beneficial discussions:

1. Culture of Strategic Thinking

Question: How can CMOs equip, enable, and encourage strategic thinking throughout the organization and avoid closed-ended, checklist thinking?

A marketing team that efficiently completes their tasks with excellence is great. But if the team fails to think about the next big thing or loses sight of their strategic vision, they won’t be as effective or dynamic as they could be. Taking your team to the next level of strategic thinking will add a new dimension of insight to drive business results. But this kind of thinking doesn’t happen by accident.

2. The Digital Customer Journey

Question: How are organizations reacting to the digital space and how can you position your organization to win?

Customer experience has always been top of mind for CMOs. However, the digital customer experience is now front and center. Digital channels and a crowded marketing technology landscape have created increased complexity. CMOs are now tasked with optimizing the digital customer journey by removing friction while keeping up with today’s rapidly evolving digital ecosystem.

3. Growing & Developing Top Talent

Question: In today’s competitive talent environment, how can marketing leaders retain and nurture top talent in a way that actually makes an impact?

According to a 2016 Harvard Business Review article, 89% of executives rated “strengthening the leadership pipeline” as an urgent issue, and only 25% of leaders said their organizations have “leaders developed to meet tomorrow’s business challenges.” A LinkedIn survey found that 27% of the companies surveyed in North America would get more budget to spend on learning and development in 2017 than in 2016. So there appears to be a disconnect between the dollars that are spent on learning and development and the impact they have on the ultimate goal of strengthening the leadership pipeline. This Credera whitepaper shares how organizations are able to retain talent by building trust.

4. Innovating for the Changing Consumer

Question: How can your organization leverage innovation to serve the changing consumer?

The consumer is changing. They have higher expectations and prioritize customer experience. According to Salesforce, 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations and two-thirds of consumers in a recent survey said they are more likely to switch to the competitor that provides the best customer service or experience. CMOs find their role expanding to include all aspects of the customer engagement journey as they are charged with driving innovation to meet these expectations or risk losing customers.

5. How to Stay on Top of Your Game as a CMO

Question: As you look to grow as a leader in the next year, what lever do you need to focus on to become a more well-rounded CMO?

The CMO role is constantly evolving and expanding, and without opportunities to reflect on what is going well or could be improved, executives could fail to reach their full potential. A recent Harvard Business Review article details four levers of growth where CMOs need to be facilitators and ways to avoid common pitfalls.

Four levers of growth/areas of influence for a CMO:

  1. Brand

  2. Product marketing

  3. Data and analytics

  4. Sales support

what are you thinking about?

Thinking through these topics can help you grow as a CMO. Try analyzing your own organization through these lenses to see how you can drive better results.

Being able to share experiences with peers in a trust-based, non-selling environment without fees or sponsors is the key to the CMO Forum’s success. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to Sarah Bruner at sbruner@credera.com.

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