Web-revolutionised world is affecting the role of the CMO

The fact that “CMOs need to focus on strategic direction” (MW 24 June), and not just managing advertising will come as no surprise to anyone in the industry.

Our work with the CMO Club to get a deeper and broader insight into the web-revolutionised consumer world and its impact on brands, has revealed that, on average, two-thirds of decision making is now based on what is read/heard about others’ experiences, as opposed to what is presented through advertising. However influencers, who are twice as likely to pass on experiences though digital channels, are actually more affected by advertising than other respondents.

It is not a case of marketers scrapping advertising in favour of embracing new technologies, rather the role of the CMO has become more complex/ consumers need to be engaged across multiple channels, as consumer, brand, experience and market sentiment are all interwoven.
Alongside this, attending the various sessions at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival this week, it’s clear that there are some structural implications for the role of the CMO.

With the “threat” of negative posts and comments now so significant to companies, added to their desire to respond rapidly to protect brands, PR comes back to the CMOs office rather than a corporate affairs type function.

Secondly, customer experience is moving back to the marketing team as opposed to being a separate responsibility. Social media, with its magnifying effect on word of mouth recommendation and advocacy, ramps up the importance of customer experience as a critical brand factor.
So a web-revolutionised world has significantly impacted the role of the CMO, calling for ever more broad and strategic direction.

Some may feel threatened by these changes but, overall, this is good news for those marketers – and agencies – that can rise to the challenge.

James Walker, Chief strategy and corporate development officer, Nunwood

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