Recently I was asked what is the biggest change for the CMO today.

There is plenty written on this subject and trends that you can point at in a response; the CMO’s role and relationship with IT/technology, maybe the changing way that consumers are engaging with brands or is it the ability to tap into the big data that can be collected on consumers?

All good points, however I think the biggest change for the CMO, that enables them to take advantage of these underlying trends and to drive the organization change that the age of the “customer experience” demands is the ability to measure the impact of marketing.

An ability that means the CMO enters the boardroom and speaks in their language.

Or as Stephen Quinn, CMO of Walmart described it:

I’m proud of the story here, because I think it’s showing how marketing is making a really big difference to a company that maybe didn’t take it as seriously as they do today..I do think marketing has a seat at the table…

Slightly more succintly Kim Feil, now CMO at OfficeMax, during her time at Walgreens said in this interview:

create accountability and measurement systems that bring credibility to the work you do.

These quotes are not new and I can only speak from a B2B marketing perspective – but these quotes hold true for all CMO’s – that the credibility provided by measurement is critical.

I’m not referring to the primitive measures like the number of attendees at a webinar, the number of hits on a website or the length of the list of attendees that an event might share – or even the number leads (if you don’t have what constitutes a “lead” well defined).

I’m referring to the ability for organizations to track the customers journey, from the top of funnel content marketing activity, through lead scoring, using those numbers to identify and agree what really makes a qualified lead and then tracking the sales engagement.

Ultimately associating all this activity to sales, drawing a clear line of measurement from the marketing budget to something the CEO understands – revenue.

To do this obviously needs tools, but the revelation I have seen is when a CMO invests in marketing operations, folks who own not just the budget but that are dedicated to examining the data, working within the analytics, marketing automation and CRM tools.

This article on CMO.com explores the discipline of Marketing Operations in more detail, it’s worth a read and concludes:

Marketing operations is a means to ensure that marketing is conducted in a more efficient and accountable manner.

Or to go a little further – to produce the reports and dashboards that are within a swipe on the CMO’s iPad.

Having this provides the lever that enables the CMO to be an agent of change in an organization – able to shine a light on what really is working (or not!).

Not just in marketing, but potentially across the customer experience – from product marketing to sales – resolving those age old disputes that it’s the product, the field, the leads, the “air cover”, the sales team or the content.

To look the CEO in the eye.

 

Featured image by Mason Bryant shared under Creative Commons License