CMOs and marketing’s digital upheaval

Marketing is undergoing a fundamental digital transformation but, according to a new study, chief marketing officers are slow to heed the wake-up call for their business.

The role of the chief marketing officer is becoming more digital focused. They have a firm understanding of the corporate brand and the customers and are the ones who will be called upon to lead and transform the marketing role. CMOs who are younger and part of a new generation of digital natives are fast becoming game changers.

And yet, according to Accenture’s 2014 CMO Insights Survey, marketing pros are selling themselves short.

The findings, drawn from a survey of nearly 600 senior marketing executives from 11 countries and 10 industries, reveal that only 21 percent of chief marketing officers believe their company will be known as a digital business in five years.

A majority of marketing officers in emerging markets, on the other hand, believe it is important to transform into a digital business. CMOs in emerging markets are also more likely to initiate or complete a companywide digital transformation than their counterparts in established markets.

CMOs are recognizing the digital opportunities. Fully three-quarters of the respondents believe that marketing will undergo a fundamental change in the next five years.

Leading the way is an increased emphasis on analytics and substantial budget increases for digital and mobile. Companies are investing and focusing more on digital channels, including mobile platforms, social media and branded content, and achieving from them more results.

“The question isn’t whether they can effectively take advantage of digital channels — they are proving they can,” Accenture says in its insights survey report, “but whether they can be catalysts working across the organization to welcome the broader digital opportunities and protect against the digital threats.”

So, what role does your chief marketing officer have in moving your company toward a digital transformation? The answer can be the difference between moving forward and staying on the sidelines.


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