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June 27, 2016
Turbulence for the CMO
By: Anatoly Roytman

Charting a path for the seamless customer experience

Faced with increasingly complex markets and customers, turbulence has become the new normal for today’s CMOs.

Key to business survival, will be their ability to adapt, restructure, work horizontally and to deliver exceptional customer experiences across all touchpoints. Accenture Interactive recently surveyed 400 senior marketers across ten countries and found that nearly four in ten CMOs don’t have the right people, tools and resources to meet their marketing objectives. Compared to Accenture’s 2011 study, this is a five-percentage point drop in preparedness.

So what is going on?

CMOs are operating in a challenging business environment, beset by relentless demands, higher stakes, smaller share of wallet and higher customer expectations. Business priorities are ever more demanding and numerous, led by profitable growth and efficiency – CMOs are required to play key roles in supporting these.

Technological growth has brought with it higher stakes across customer acquisition and retention, as well as marketing operations efficiencies and responsiveness. Companies are chasing a smaller share of wallet, and CMOs are finding it harder to court new customers whilst selling more to existing customers – four out of ten experienced a flat or declining market share in 2012. CMOs are dealing with a new consumer that is enabled by technology; with 40% of CMOs expect ‘showrooming’ to have a long-term impact.

ROI and the Digital Disconnect

Within this unforgiving environment, CMOs are finding it difficult to quantify marketing ROI and embed digital orientation. Two-thirds of CMOs recognise the importance of digital orientation, yet only 7% say their efforts are leading edge. In fact, one in five believes their company’s digital focus is the weakest in the industry due to inefficient business processes, proliferating channels and talent gaps.

One of the biggest barriers encountered by CMOs is inefficient business practice, with 22% citing this as hitting digital orientation the hardest. A further 19% say that digital orientation suffers from a lack of integration across the business. 

The Channel Explosion + Partner Proliferation

As marketing channels multiply, CMOs say they are unsure how to maximise ROI across channels and how to get the channel mix right. For example two thirds of marketers realise that social media is an important channel, but less than half are using it effectively.

This explosion in marketing channels has led CMOs to turn to a large mix of agencies and alliance partners, so that 45%- 75% of marketing activities are currently managed by partners. With no clear strategic leader among the outside resources, many CMOs default to ineffective internal processes to create the cross-agency view. Selecting the most suitable outside partners may help to enhance marketing performance, with highest growth companies using marketing service providers and specialised agencies, to a greater extent than other types of companies.

The New CMO Agenda

There is a new CMO agenda at work, with over 70% of CMOs expecting the marketing function to change fundamentally in the next five years. To succeed in bringing about this substantial change, our research highlights four key areas that will allow CMOs to transform marketing and improve marketing performance:

  1. Fundamentally change the marketing operating model

  2. Build new skills internally

  3. Get aligned with the right set of partners

  4. Drive digital orientation throughout the enterprise

The research shows that now is the time for the C-suite to embrace horizontal collaboration and give digital orientation greater importance.

To find out more about the new CMO agenda, see findings from the Accenture Interactive CMO Insights survey.

Related content: Turbulence For The CMO Infographic.

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