CMOs become increasingly responsible for business growth

29 September 2021 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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Marketing leads and teams are having to become more holistic in their approach, as they look to build data-driven approaches to build better informed strategies. A new report shows that while traditional activities like brand building are still top of the agenda for marketeers, data and technology responsibilities and intelligence gathering are increasingly prominent too.

Previous research has suggested that UK companies which fail to maintain customer relevance could forfeit an estimated £100 billion in revenues in the coming years, something which means the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) role has taken on an added significance at the majority of businesses. In turn, this has seen the CMO function rapidly evolve in recent years.

As digital innovation sees a new generation of challenger companies, many industry incumbents have been faced with a choice: adapt to compete, or lose business. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, every customer counts – even more so than before – so using technology to enhance customer experience offerings has become an essential task for even the most established of entities.

The CMO remit has broadened to become more holistic

According to a new study from Capgemini, the impact of this has seen marketing leads finding themselves under increased pressure to leverage customer data to make be faster decisions, while also being able to rapidly quantify their results. Key to this is nurturing a closer relationship with data and technology.

Of course, when it comes to the marketing function, brand-building and business strategy remain the bread and butter of the work. These are the areas where CMOs have most direct responsibility and accountability, wielding budgetary control and decision-making power. However, a growing number are also demonstrating how the role is becoming more holistic and multi-dimensional.

While a total of 93% of CMOs have some form of responsibility for brand-building – and 63% have direct responsibility including budget control – 74% also take some level of responsibility for data and technology with a company. A smaller number, 33%, have direct responsibility and budgetary powers in this area, but this still demonstrates the mission-creep of the CMO, with firms understanding their insight can help channel consumer data into boosting.

53% of retail marketers anticipate bringing the work done by marketing agencies in-house

Similarly, almost seven-in-ten have responsibility in terms of customer experience competencies of their company. As many as 28% have direct accountability for this. Capgemini also found that 36% are directly responsible for overseeing marketing technologies such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools or marketing-automation platforms. 

Meanwhile, as companies look to foster more responsive marketing for their firms, many are considering moving work in-house. While pressure has been mounting on marketing agencies to demonstrate value for money, in the fallout of the last 18 months of crisis, organisations are increasingly determined to take control of their marketing function, and monitor its effectiveness for themselves. In particular, the retail sector is leading this shift, with more than half of retail marketers expecting to bring the work done by external partner in-house within the coming three years. Similarly, around half of telecom, utilities and consumer goods organisations are weighing up such a move.

According to Capgemini, the integration of functions in-house will likely take on a hybrid approach, with capabilities in-house and agencies supporting. This model could offer companies greater access to talent and control of cost and performance – and the researchers pointed to Unilever, which set up its in-house digital agency, U-Studio, to increase the volume and turnaround time of content. It operates a hybrid model, with the majority of its staff hired from an agency specializing in digital marketing, working alongside Unilever marketers.