What are the most important attributes of a top-class CMO?
Gautam Mane, February 1, 2019
‘’What makes a top-class CMO?’’
The question has never been as much emphasized as now. What with all the prevailing business dynamics and organizations trying hard to beat each other at customer acquisition game – it is time to find a top-in-the-class CMO.
What specific attributes then, make for a smart, efficient and effective CMO? There are quite a few; we will cover some of the more important ones in this article.
Voicing the customer
A survey of 349 top executives by Deloitte (including C-Suite execs) on CMO effectiveness pointed that 16.3% (the maximum %) ranked – ‘’Being the voice of the customer at the leadership table’’ as the #1 attribute of an effective CMO. What this means is that CMOs must have a deep understanding of customer behaviour, purchase journey and usage experiences to be able to provide valuable insights on customers. This in turn will help lay out a sound strategy to both address customer needs and attain/retain them.
Having business mindset
You heard it right!
Business should be at the top of mind for the present-day CMOs. While marketing is traditionally creative and considered an art, the CMO needs to move beyond that to become business savvy. Not surprisingly, the Deloitte survey had 15.1% (second highest %) ranking ‘’Having an enterprise-wide business mindset’’ as the #1 requisite for an effective CMO.
Having a business mindset helps in two ways – one, the CMO is driven to achieve measurable results and two, she acquires more credibility at the C-Suite table. Unlike in the case of Coca-Cola which had to let go off its CMO, companies will favour CMOs when they adopt a business mindset.
Key role in growth
For long we have had only the sales team play a pivotal and direct role in the growth of a company. An effective CMO will seize the opportunity to not only redefine the role but to also come out as a more important player in the company’s growth.
It is a well-known fact that other C-Suite execs appreciate and admire a CMO who plays a proactive role in the company growth. The hallmark of an effective, new-gen CMO is his or her ability to devise and execute a marketing strategy that adds impetus to the company’s growth.
Engages various functions
In the present-day circumstances, it is not advisable to stay and operate in silos. As technology seeps into industry after industry, functional teams can no longer afford to stay aloof. The smart CMO will take this as an opportunity to engage with different functions across the organization. In fact, it is the marketing team that can effortlessly and effectively move across teams and gel them together as a single unit focussed on -first understanding customer needs and then on executing the deliverables.
An effective CMO is like the binding tissue across the various layers of an organization keeping it together and focussed.
Data-driven and Tech-savvy
It’d be futile to not catch onto the technology bandwagon. The ability of the CMO to understand the tech landscape and its effect on the future of communications and marketing can be very helpful. Devising a brilliant strategy is possible when CMOs understand the role of tech in the growth of organizations while making use of data to drive and implement sound logical initiatives. It is imperative that the present-day CMO be tech-friendly and update herself or himself accordingly.
Last but not the least – a top in class CMO is a team person. Sure, marketing is a creative field and hence the need to foster and encourage creativity, but the buck stops there. At the end of the day it is only by a healthy collaboration—both, within the marketing team and with the other functional departments—that a brilliant marketing strategy can be conceived and executed to perfection.
Up next: What makes a good sales pitch to a CMO?