Before choosing the right tools, how can CMOs cut through to the root cause of marketing challenges?
Tasked to fulfill their organisations’ marketing objectives, today’s chief marketing officers are studying what marketing technologies can do to reach their audiences.
However, the sheer volume of new martech options is astounding. Susan Beermann, EllieMae’s CMO, comments: “The number of tools available for marketing technology is overwhelming, and finding the right tool is especially challenging for a marketer in B2B enterprise software.” Chiefmartec.com’s annual “Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic” shows 6,829 unique marketing technology solutions that the modern chief marketing officer can choose from!
Before choosing the right tools, how can CMOs cut through the noise and find a useful approach to understanding marketing challenges?
Read on to download our infographic!
Marketing priorities now go beyond generating quality leads, towards also being a force of influence at the Zero Moment of Truth, the moment of purchase to delivery, the moment of consumption and fulfillment, and even the moments of crisis management. Simply selecting one or a few tools is insufficient.
We suggest digging through surface-level problems to find the root cause of the top CMO challenges in 2018. Read on for our take on how CMOs can achieve their objectives, and a downloadable infographic.
surface-level marketing challenges: the tactical gap
The first and most apparent tier of marketing challenges is what we call the tactical gap. This arises when marketers have difficulty making practical marketing decisions. This may range from choosing an analytics tool, to ways of optimizing channels, to choosing marketing automation software.
Beyond these tools marketers are struggling with the technical complexity of handling large volumes of big data from disparate sources. Ex-Microsoft CMO Thom Gruhler notes that finding the most appropriate data and analytics model is one of the “toughest challenges” CMOs face today.
subsoil-level marketing challenges: the conceptual gap
The next tier down is what we call the conceptual gap. This is caused by gaps in knowledge that lead to a mismatch between marketing execution and marketing strategy.
Marketers with learning inertia delay getting essential skills that could help them cope with marketing evolution.As an example, Mukul Deoras, the Colgate-Palmolive Company’s CMO, comments that “the challenge is not the learning curve. The challenge is the unlearning curve.”
A second reason for mismatch between execution and strategy is when an organisation favours short-term tactics that compromise on marketing fundamentals. This is what marketing thought leader and academic Mark Ritson calls the “tactification” of marketing.
Avi Dan (Avidan Strategies founder) also observes that “marketers are focusing more on short-term tasks — in sharp contrast with their desire to be involved in long-term, large-scale initiatives.”
substratum-level marketing challenges: the strategic power gap
Moving down into the third level, we discover a strategic power gap, caused when higher-ranking marketing professionals are not given the necessary authority to expedite their strategic responsibilities. A Deloitte CMO survey (2018) reveals that even as CMOs are invited to sit in the C-suite, they continue to struggle to have their voices heard.
Typically, the official job description of a CMO requires that she is active in strategic budgeting and planning. However, the unofficial mandate accorded to a CMO may not support such strategic functions. In fact, Harvard Business Review found in 2017 that 80% of CEOs do not trust or are unimpressed with their CMOs, in comparison with just 10% of the CEOs who feel the same way about their CFOs and CIOs.
When a CMO has difficulty proving marketing returns on investment to the C-suite, the role may lose respect. According to Sanjay Dholakia, formerly Marketo’s CMO, a top question keeping CMOs awake at night is: “how to prove the value of what marketing does.”
bedrock level marketing challenges: the structural gap
One level deeper, we see the next gap- the lack of collaboration between marketing and other departments. For example, when objectives are misaligned between the marketing and sales department, Marketing may blame Sales for poorly executing their otherwise intelligent plans, while Sales, in turn, may claim that “Marketing is a cost centre!” and uses too much company budget.
This occurs when marketing departments have not achieved an enterprise-wide mindset to achieve inter-departmental integration and understanding. In the State of the CMO survey (2018), 45 percent of CMOs cite concerns that “functional silos are an obstacle to derailing the organization’s growth strategies.”
As customers are now becoming increasingly empowered, branding and advertising also need to permeate business functions on all levels, says IBM CMO Michelle Peluso.
what does this mean for marketers?
To solve problems rooted in organisational structures and legacy, the gutsy CMO has to to acknowledge structural limitations that go beyond simple gaps in knowledge or expertise.
The new CMO has to rally the entire organisation to consider the question: is the organization adopting a marketing is business mindset? For the CMO of the future to gain the understanding and authority they need to realize their strategic purpose, she needs to communicate the value of marketing initiatives in the C-suite.
The CMO will eventually need the authority to gain budget increases to orchestrate necessary organisational changes. These changes include learning and development programs for employees to master strategy and keep up with technological changes.
A complete marketing and business integration will also mean that marketing pervades all stages of the business’s processes. In the words of Peter Drucker, known as the ‘father of modern management’, “Marketing is not a function, it is the whole business seen from the customer’s point of view.”
business transformation starts from alignment
To get your organization ready for marketing and business integration, one solution is to create roles designed for collaboration.
For example, brewer MillerCoors introduced the position of Senior Director, Marketing Finance, to ensure tight orchestration between its marketing and finance departments. The position’s main responsibility is to help the CMO and CFO communicate with each other, and sits on both the senior finance and marketing teams.
Junior analysts on the marketing finance team then streamline marketing efforts with financial metrics and goals, creating a collaborative approach scalable across the organization.
Anothe solution is to modify goals across departments to create long-term alignment within the company. At Regal Entertainment Group, CEO Amy Miles tied the bonuses of the CMO and CIO to goals that could only be jointly achieved. The marketing and IT teams held regular joint department scrums, directing their efforts to achieve a common objective.
Click to download our full infographic for a shareable summary about the root causes of marketing challenges that CMOs and marketing teams face.
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