All CMOs ‘will have computer science background in 10 years’

All online organisations will require their chief marketing officers (CMO) to have backgrounds in computer science within the next 10 years, according to a senior executive at online fashion retailer Farfetch.

Digital technology
Digital customer experience is now a key ‘battleground’ for brands, a roundtable has warned

Chief operating officer Andrew Robb argued that as digital customer experiences become increasingly important to delivering business growth, all top marketers will need to have a firm grasp of data, analytics and of how to create “continuous optimisation” across a customer’s online journey.

Speaking at a roundtable hosted by web personalisation firm Qubit, Robb said: “The fundamental change that is coming is in the way that marketing teams will look and in the background of CMOs. I think that in 10 years’ time, CMOs of any business that is even close to being online-driven will all have a computer science background. They will not be from traditional marketing backgrounds.”

London-based startup Farfetch raised $86m (£59m) in a new funding round last month, valuing the company at $1bn. The website, which recently launched in Russia, China, Japan and South Korea, sells luxury fashion items from over 300 boutiques worldwide.

Discussing the company structure, Robb said that Farfetch has a team within its engineering division that is entirely dedicated to the company’s marketing aims. This has helped to change the culture of the organisation by ensuring that all resources are aligned towards improving the online customer experience, he claimed.

“The most advanced companies change the way they organise the business, where it’s a lot more driven around the goal that you’re trying to achieve,” Robb suggested.

“That basically turns it from a marketing problem into an engineering problem – that’s such a different way of thinking about it for legacy businesses.”

Graham Cooke, founder and CEO at Qubit, argued that as consumers are faced with increasing choice and as brand loyalty continues to decline, digital customer experience will be the core “battleground” for marketers in the years ahead.

“The one-size-fits-all approach to user experience will be a laughable concept in a couple of years,” he said. “It’s now about creating customer joy to the extent that customers are surprised at just how good their experience was.”

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