The Path to Marketing Relevance

As recently as the mid-2000s, the average CMO tenure was just 18 months. Faced with complexities of tapping the internet and emerging technologies to communicate with consumers, CMOs, as historically creative and brand-focused executives, were ill-equipped to deal with this dynamic environment.

More importantly, they were no closer to being able to quantify the impact of their marketing spend than their predecessors from decades gone by. 

Enter today’s ‘new & improved’ CMO. A recent Forbes article highlights that according to global executive search firm Spencer Stuart, the CMO’s tenure today has hit an average of 48 months. That is a dramatic shift in a relatively short period of time.

Why the change? In a nutshell, it boils down to the growing recognition (and adoption) that technology and data are the keys to better consumer experiences.

The variety and availability of marketing-friendly technology solutions has made it exponentially easier to connect with today’s digital-focused consumer in near real-time. Add to that the proliferation of data being generated and the advanced analytics tools available to interpret it. When leveraged successfully, the new CMO is empowered to better understand their customer, to provide superior experiences, to measure the impact of customer engagement, and ultimately, to quantify their marketing ROI.

Yet while technology and data are certainly enablers of marketing success, they are just that – enablers. Data needs to be turned into actionable insight. The customer journey needs to be mapped and understood. Technology needs to capture and deliver value at the right place, the right time, and in the right channel.

CMOs are increasingly getting this. And that is getting the attention of the C-suite.