March 24, 2014

CEOs Look toward CMOs to Forge Brand Strategy

In today’s increasingly digital world—where content marketing is king—company brass are looking to CMOs with more frequency to help shape the conversation surrounding brand strategy.

According to a recent survey of C-level executives conducted by IBM, chief executives are collectively placing a lot of trust in their CMOs, with 63 percent indicating that they consult their top marketers when discussing strategies. Only a company’s top financier holds more influence than the CMO, according to the study, with 72 percent of executives indicating they consult their CFOs on pressing business matters.

According to the report, CMOs are planning to heavily invest in technology in the next three to five years, particularly that which generates a strong return on investment. The study indicates the investments will be made in the following areas:

  • 94 percent of CMOs will invest in advanced predictive analytics, up from 66 percent in 2011
  • 94 percent of CMOs will invest in mobile applications, up from 80 percent in 2011
  • 87 percent of CMOs will invest in collaboration tools, up from 68 percent in 2011
  • 81 percent of CMOs will invest in content management, up from 73 percent in 2011
  • 80 percent of CMOs will invest in search engine optimization, up from 62 percent in 2011
  • 79 percent of CMOs will invest in reputation management, up from 63 percent in 2011
  • 47 percent of CMOs will invest in email marketing, up from 46 percent in 2011

It’s certainly exciting that businesses are wholly embracing content marketing as they look to remain financially viable over the long term. Still, a majority of CMOs indicated that they’re not prepared to deal with the impending data explosion and effectively handle an abundance social media channels. In 2011, 71 percent of CMOs indicated that they were unprepared for the data explosion. That number rose to 82 percent last year. What’s more, 66 percent of CMOs indicated they weren’t ready to meet the challenges of social media, just a slight decrease from 2011 (68 percent).

What does this mean? That while businesses are investing heavily in digital content marketing and leaning on their CMOs more than ever before, it appears that not all CMOs are all equal footing with their peers at other companies. That said, CMOs who feel confident that they’ll be able to synthesize big data and forge effective social media campaigns across a diverse number of networks are head and shoulders ahead and have the ability to instill significant, measurable change by executing comprehensive campaigns.

In other words: The money is there, but an abundance of thought leaders is not—at least not yet. CMOs who are comfortable with the ever-evolving digital landscape should consider engaging in aggressive and innovative campaigns, differentiating themselves from the competition while paving a path to prosperity. 


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