4 Ways the CMO Role Will Change by 2020

CMO responsibilities have evolved rapidly in the last two decades. Among the most recognized changes is the need to establish marketing as a revenue driver rather than a cost center, as we’ve acknowledged frequently.Here’s a look at four new disciplines CMOs will be expected to master by 2020 to ensure that marketing consistently drives revenue for an organization.

1. Own the Customer Experience at All Levels

Owning customer experience means being responsible for every interaction a customer has with your brand: digital, analog, in-person, etc. This is a task with huge implications: 54 percent of customers have stopped doing business with a company because of a negative customer experience, and today’s customers expect nothing less than the best.

By 2020, CMOs will be held accountable for creating a consistently excellent customer experience. This imperative reflects a shift in thinking about the customer journey to one that flows in an ongoing cycle rather than a single funnel.

To do this, CMOs will have to combine the power of creativity and data analytics to develop branding, narrative and messaging that are powered by insights from data analytics and that reach customers when they’re most relevant: right message, right time, right channel, right person.

2. Make Every Employee a Stakeholder in Customer Experience

Fully 73 percent of best-in-class organizations report marketing and sales alignment. But 90 percent of marketers say lack of alignment between marketing and sales keeps them from meeting objectives.

Owning the customer experience means getting alignment from everyone who interacts with customers, which is more than just the marketing team, and even more than just marketing and sales.

To achieve this alignment, CMOs will have to open internal lines of communication and forge partnerships among departments to ensure that every person who interacts with customers has the same desired outcomes for CX.

3. Master Tech, Hiring and Managing

These three competencies require significantly different skills. Mastering all three requires CMOs to develop many muscles, which is one reason the CMO role is becoming so challenging. Still, they are all necessary for any marketing department that hopes to consistently drive revenue:

  • The right technology enables CMOs to facilitate the work of combining data with creativity to create hyper-personalization at scale. Ideally, this tech provider will also serve as a partner, rather than just a service provider, so that it can become a viable long-term solution as customer expectations and demands evolve.
  • The right team combines both creative types and analytical types – and, in some cases, the unicorns who can do both types of work – to enable effective use of the best technology.
  • The right management skills enable CMOs to unify a team with diverse skill sets and experiences in pursuit of a common goal, which is, again, no small task.

4. Take on the Role of CGO or CRO

The imperative to drive revenue essentially means that many CMOs must effectively behave as Chief Growth Officers or Chief Revenue Officers in addition to leading marketing efforts. Obviously, this is a huge challenge, as it essentially means holding two C-level roles. 

Another option is that financial services organizations may add the position of CRO or CGO and the CMO will have to collaborate with this leader in new ways – a development that would come with its own challenges: the further a CMO’s work is removed from hard revenue numbers, the easier it is to discount that work.

Either way, doing the work of the CRO or CGO in addition to that of the CMO will mean looking beyond optimization of existing leads to new customer acquisition.

The CMO Role Will Continue to Evolve

The role of the financial services CMO is evolving fast, and that won’t change any time soon, especially as fintech startups find more and more ways to disrupt the space. CMOs must be fanatical about creating the kind of consistent customer experiences that win deep trust; if they don’t, they risk losing customers to more innovative or persistent competitors.