CMOs see a rise in crisis, but the action is necessary to preserve gains


A title that has seen its relevance sorely tested for years; the chief marketing officer has not been as roiled by the downturn of COVID-19 as some might expect. According to a recent whitepaper from the Clear Consultancy of M&C Saatchi Group, more than half of the chief marketers surveyed report their influence has increased, while only 5 percent claimed it has declined. However, if they can, CMOs should not get comfortable as underlying issues affecting marketing could resurface in force once the all-hands-on-deck mandates of today cool.

Although the report by Clear is the rare one to send positive signals about CMOs, the job itself is not getting any easier, and as the pandemic and adjacent issues wear on, many senior marketers feel spread thin. A critical point that was clearly outlined was the tension between the traditional bread and butter of the CMO’s long-term brand vision and the pressure to achieve short-term objectives.

For CMOs, it is an enduring issue, but one that has been sharply amplified by current volatility. Similarly, some marketers lose sight of their teams’ bigger problems such as talent shortages in the crush of short-termism, a strain that will get more intense as information and digital gravity get closer to the marketing centre.

To speak the language

Data requirements are helping to buoy CMOs, an area many organizations are struggling to gain greater control over in the context of the implementation of new privacy laws and the death of third-party cookies. Troves of shopper data have been a boon for retailers like Walgreens, the sister brand of Boots, which was launched on its own media network in December.

A battleground for New Talent

For Boots, which previously had a marketing manager, Marketing Week reported, the CMO role is a new one. After the position’s presence emerged on the wane throughout a good chunk of the 2010s, the business joins others in either introducing or reinstating a CMO.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, the parent company of Boots, has doubled down on a digital transformation strategy that saw it ink a pact with Adobe and Microsoft last summer to develop more personalized marketing. Those kinds of deals emphasize how marketing teams while trying to preserve historical creative functions, shift focus to fields such as data science. This is a juggling act that CMOs could be better suited to handle than most, assuming multiple balls can be kept in the air.

To the limit stretched

The research by Clear recognizes that to succeed, CMOs need to put a lot on their plate. The production and planning time of large campaigns has been truncated by COVID-19 while strengthening the need to be able to drop everything and start fresh on a dime.

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