IBM survey reveals CMOs digital anxieties

Long-term business scenario consideration and strategy planning should be an integral part of any Chief Marketing Officer’s job. Yet in this digital age there seems to be a huge and very worrying disconnection between the planning of business and brand marketing strategy and the CMO’s understanding of who and where their customers are online.

All too often the bright young things at junior levels in the marketing department (or at worst, within the fully silo’ed online marketing department) are responsible for making digital performance happen.

It needs to be much more comprehensive than this.

Just as traditional approaches to marketing need to be shifted in this digital age, so do traditional approaches to business planning. Because both start with the customer.

The recent IBM Global Chief Marketing Officer Survey ‘From Stretched to Strengthened’, assessed 1,700 CMOs globally. The study reveals four challenges as pervasive, universal game-changers: the data explosion, social media, proliferation of channels and devices and shifting consumer demographics.

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Nearly two-thirds of the CMOs surveyed believe they will need to change the mix of skills within the marketing function and enhance their analytics capabilities. Yet it seems mad that that this hasn’t been done yet.

As the report goes on to say…

CMOs today have to manage more data, understand and engage with more demanding customers and ensure their employees consistently exemplify the organisation’s values. They have to use tools and technologies their children often understand better than they do. And they have an average tenure of just three to four years in which to make their mark”.

CMOs need to make the breathing space to seek support and up their digital literacy. This step change needs to happen swiftly now, so traditional approaches to business planning can be reconsidered and organisations can think and work properly to make the most of the abundance of the digital age.