CMOs in 2020

CMOs in 2020

In our latest blog, Sara Bennison (CMO at Nationwide Building Society) reinforces the core essence of the role of Marketing CMO and says whilst the role continues to evolve, it remains the discipline that joins up the assorted silos to create a single, compelling brand experience. The ‘sum of all parts’.. She cites: “Now is the time to reclaim the title CMO, and all that it means with pride and confidence…..”

When thinking about the future for CMOs, it’s all too easy to become distracted by the current vogue for discussing whether the title ‘CMO’ is redundant. Are we really CTOs? CIOs? Editors in Chief? All of which make sense given the shift in responsibilities that digital demands, from ‘command and control’ to ‘freedom in a framework’; from ‘dictating to describing’; from ‘magic to logic’… (and back again when the quantity of logic overwhelms).

That can leave a marketer (sometimes not the sturdiest of souls) feeling paranoid that the seismic changes digital demands, has left the skills they have honed redundant.

I think that’s wrong, though. Rather than apologetically rebranding the CMO with all the navel gazing that requires, I think that our time as marketers has come. Again.

Why? Because now more than ever it really is all about the customer. Every organisation is on a mission to improve its ‘customer experience’ and create compelling ‘customer journeys’. And yet very few – especially those of any scale – seem to have much of a clue how to do that because the responsibility for all the touch points in that expanded customer experience/journey belong to so many.

There is talk therefore of who ‘owns the customer’ but that language seems to me entirely misplaced as well – back to the days when brands broadcasted and their consumers, well, consumed the message.

So this to me is not about ‘ownership’. It is about being able to inspire an organisation to unite behind a single common purpose and behave with one consistent personality. It is about building brands from the inside out with insight at the heart (insight being the crystallised output of the data at our disposal). It is about realising that the opportunities afforded by the digital revolution are effectively just age old marketing practices on speed. It is about taking the information available to everyone in the market and taking that creative leap which is marketing.

To do all of that does require being the CTO and the CIO and the Editor in Chief. But the wonderful thing about Marketing is it is (and always was) the sum of those parts; the discipline that joins up the assorted silos in an organisation to create a single, compelling brand experience in the service of the customer.

So let’s not get stuck in the semantics. Let’s not continue the bemoan Marketing losing it’s seat at the top table. Now is the time to reclaim the title CMO and all that it means with pride and confidence.

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