Report tells CMOs: Step up, assume accountability and drive growth

In what is easily the most important and insightful report for CMOs in a long time, The CMO Council and Deloitte have researched and identified the factors affecting the role of today’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). A particular focus was put on the responsibility of Marketing to drive revenue growth in businesses. So, do CMOs drive growth? Findings show keen ambition amongst CMOs to drive growth, alonside a reality that doesn’t quite reflect the ambition. Read the full report: The CMO Shift To Gaining Business Lift.

For the infographic, see end of this article.

There is general consensus that the CMO should be responsible for driving revenue growth. That’s great news. But in reality, the CMO Council Report finds, we are not yet seeing ambition and expectation turn into reality. Are you a CMO? Does this ring true for you? If so, what are the reasons for that disconnect. Or perhaps you are a CEO or company founder and you’re unsure about who should actually be responsible for revenue growth, i.e. marketing, sales or management as agroup? Read on for some more insight.

Let’s look at some numbers:

48% of CMOs know they should be crafting Growth Strategies. But in reality, CMOs still fulfill many of their traditional or functional roles:

  • 45% of CMOs mostly spend their time reviewing budgets, plans, content and campaigns
  • 42% of CMOs mostly spend their time attending meetings
  • 37% of CMOs mostly spend their time evolving brand narrative.

These numbers are more akin to where CMOs were ten years ago. In a previous study, conducted by The CMO Council in 2007, CMOs saw themselves as brand ambassador and ombudsman, much more than being responsible for revenue growth. Except for the CMOs’ ambition, it seems not much has changed. This is also reflected in what CMOs are not spending their time doing:

  • Only 8% of CMOs are fnding ways to recover, reactivate and re-engage customers (i.e. reducing churn)
  • Only 10% of CMOs are embracing new monetisation programmes
  • Only 15% of CMOs are modifying marketing practices to optmise performance

Mastering data and technology

Most of us will have read the prediction that by 2017 the CMO will be spending more on technology than the CIO. Yet, this report found that the majority of CMOs (69%) admitted that their contribution to “influencing the ability to adapt to technological disruption” was to “stay informed”.

There is no doubt that the ability to affect revenue growth lies in mastering the technology, and the data it provides. It allows end-to-end control of the customer lifecycle, from primary contact through to end-of-life. However, this also requires a true shift in mindset and ability amongst CMOs. Such a shift is not achieved overnight, and with many CMOs only just setting out on this journey, those who acted early are now well ahead of the curve.

Forget the idea of your “Marketing Stack”, the selection of marketing technology tools that allows you to automate your marketing execution. Instead, begin to develop your “Revenue Stack”, i.e. the selection of technology tools that allows you to integrate, track and analyse your marketing efforts with a view to affecting and growing revenue.

CMOs in 2017: Grow or Go

2017 holds the opportunity for CMOs to become much more intentional about making this shift towards a revenue growth oriented strategy and mandate. In other words — get stuck in a and deliver.

As the report notes, “some executives will need to step out of their brand comfort zones. There must be a willingness to collaborate and cooperate across functions in order to optimize experiences from sales all the way to support and service.”

INBND has always strongly advocated the close alignment between marketing and sales — even by creating internal Service Level Agreements (SLAs). It is a core requirement for revenue growth and the basis for a wider corporate alignment between LOBs and functions.

Take action for transformational change

As much as we’d like to turn our desire of being a driver of growth into reality simply by assuming the role, doing so will not create the organisational change needed to take on the competition. Experience and expertise — internal or external — is needed to affect real transformation towards a revenue growth strategy execution. It’s a tough task that takes time, investment and constant adjustment. But in change lies opportunity.

Data from CMO Council Report

Who the responsibility of driving revenue truly lies with may well be contested in your organisation. Or perhaps it has never been fully and properly considered? You’d be forgiven, if you found that Sales, Marketing and the C-Suite all either expect themselves or each other to be responsible for revenue growth. Download our whitepaper Who Is Responsible For Marketing Driven Revenue to help define this core question for your organisation.

The CMO Council report clearly identifies the gap between CMOs’ ambition to affect revenue growth and the practical execution of that ambition. The understanding of what is needed, along with the individual pieces, is there. CMOs now need to become the agents of change that turn desire into action, by connecting the dots. It will be tough, but change is happening regardless.

Martyn Etherington, CMO of Cisco Jasper summed it up this way:

“I think people know they have a blueprint of expectations to be successful. It is incumbent upon marketers in our space to step up, assume accountability and drive growth. If you deliver results, you will excel. If you don’t, your replacement will!”