The role of marketing and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) have to change in this age of the customer.
And this is not just a shift to adding customer experience into the CMO’s remit. It requires a completely new look at the role and how these roles can contribute to the broader leadership team of an organisation.
Here are a few points (from my perspective) about the changing nature of marketing, and areas marketing teams could be looking into to provide greater value for customers, and in turn their organisations.
Role of marketing
The role of marketing has changed in recent years. As our customers have changed how they behave and the environment around them has changed completely.
Information parity for customers (and potential customers) has changed the role of communication with target customer groups. It seems now to be far more about capturing engagement with a resonating connection with target customer groups on value, or purpose, rather than sharing information about what we do. And about the old tactics of ‘intrude and engage’ in an coarse attempt to get the customer’s attention.
Marketers need the skills to develop this level of messaging that will cut through in an overcrowded information space for the customer. Messaging that is about value and evokes an emotional reason why to engage.
Too much focus on the tech
We tend to focus a lot on the new technology, or the digitisation of things.
These tools are important, and marketers need to understand and be competent with contemporary tools.
But essentially, they do not change the importance of the previous paragraphs. It is about getting the message right for the target customer. The chosen customer groups that we have selected to grow, and deepen engagement with. (Read more about this approach in this article: Why your business needs a customer strategy.)
The new technology just provides us with new business models and channels for communication. It doesn’t diminish the skills required to understand customers and develop value/purpose-based messaging (and value propositions) that will resonate with them. Quite possibly, the use of the new technology heightens the need to connect with customers on value and purpose.
Shift away from the CMO
There is a current trend in business to shift away from the Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) role.
More and more CMO roles are changing to Chief Customer Officers, or Growth or Brand or Revenue Officers.
To me this appears to be an inability to keep the traditional marketing functions under the accountabilities of one person or role.
The breadth of the role now has to include; communications with existing customers and therefore does it include service design (experience) and delivery. As well as promoting advocacy within the customer base. And new customer engagement (AKA: sales); data, analytics and insights; and so on.
It seems to be a recognition that business value comes more from existing customers than new ones, which shifts the focus of the Marketing function. (See more about this point in: The Value of your Customer Portfolio).
Some examples from other sites
The key points from this article on AdAge are:
- CMOs have the shortest tenure in the C-Suite
- The term Marketing no loner encompasses what goes into creating brand and growing revenue
- Traditional marketing has had an outbound focus – now it is about two-way conversations with customers. And, in the past CMOs were about advertising spend, whereas today it has to be about return on investment and financial accountability.
- The rise of Chief Growth Officers is a warning for CMOs
- CMOs have lost influence and reputation with their business peers
- Marketers are perceived as being distracted by digital bells and whistles
- They need a more commercial orientation
- Marketing needs to adopt a much broader approach to tactics and strategies that solve business problems…and get customers to feel things.
The intuitive and irrational customer
In addition to this change in scope of marketing teams. Insights from neuroscience and behavioural economics has changed our understanding from that of the rational consumer, to the intuitive customer (particularly in decision-making).
Many organisations now have ‘nudge’ teams that are deploying ‘choice architecture’ for optimal outcomes, for the business, and hopefully for the customer. Marketing and the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), not only need to be fully conversant with neuroscience and behavioural economics, but also need to be able to apply these techniques in a tactical way.
Customer lifetime value
Customer lifetime value has been around for a quite a while but is gaining more importance these days. Particularly in knowing which customers to engage with, and in improving the value of the customer portfolio.
Organisations are needing to find return on investment for customer experience programs as well as marketing spend. CLV is a useful metric for this, but many marketers do not understand how to best use it to prove investment and return.
Leading on from this now is Customer Based Corporate Valuation.
As more organisations are becoming subscription type businesses CBCV is becoming more relevant. A couple of the thought leaders in this space are Peter Fader (Professor of Marketing, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania) and Daniel McCarthy (Assistant Professor of Marketing at Emory University).
The role of marketing and the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is certainly changing. In a new customer driven age, we should expect these changes.
Adapting in this age of change seems, as always to be the challenge. But adapt we must.
Our customers have changed how they behave, changed what they value, and therefore there is an urgent need for organisations to change the way they engage with customers, and create meaningful brands.
The traditional role of marketing has to adapt to this changed environment.
Learn more about a customer centric approach – that is relevant for this age – in these articles.
Or perhaps learn about the New Path to Profitability and Engagement.
Featured Image by Merakist on Unsplash