63% of CEOs trust CMOs to help shape business strategy

CMOs are wielding greater power in the boardroom with almost two thirds (63 per cent) of chief executives increasingly calling on them for their input on business strategy, according to a report. 

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Marketers influence in the boardroom is growing, according to a new study.

CMOs are second only to CFOs (72 per cent) in terms of the influence they exert at board level, finds IBM’s inaugural “Stepping up to the Challenge” C-suite study.

The report revealed the future of marketing at board level rests in part on the speed CMOs are planning to adopt more ROI focused technology over the next three to five years. Nearly all marketers (94 per cent) plan to introduce predictive analytics platforms in the period, while 89 per cent expect to improve customers relationship management, the report found.

Marketers cannot rely on technology alone to enhance their influence at C-level and will need to forge closer ties to digital specialists to bring about long-term change, the report revealed. When the CMO and Chief Information Officer work “well together”, IBM found, the business is 76 per cent more likely to outperform in terms of revenues and profitability.

Despite the potential to affect change through digital marketing, only 20 per cent of CMOs have set up social networks for the purpose of collaborating with customers.

The lack of insight into customers was underpinned by 82 per cent revealing they feel unprepared to deal with data marketing. Two thirds also admitted they are not ready to cope with social media, which IBM says is “only marginally” less than it was three years ago when it last asked the question. 

John Kennedy, vice president of marketing of global business services, at IBM says: “After speaking with CMOs around the world, it became evident that more companies across all industries are striving to integrate their physical and digital presence in order to provide a more integrated, seamless customer experience.”

The insights into marketing’s burgeoning impact on corporate strategy, which are based on responses from 524 CMOs from more than 20 industries, will give confidence to marketers concerned about a perceived disconnect between marketing and the boardroom. Last week, marketers at the ISBA Conference 2014 were told to become better at marketing themselves or risk only ever being  “wheeled out by the board to talk about advertising”.

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