The role of the CMO has changed in the last few years—and many would say it’s changing for the better. Today’s CMO holds a powerful position in the c-suite, leading the digital transformation about 34 percent of the time. Thanks to digital transformation, we now live in a business world where CMOs can measure practically everything. This is an age where CMOs can prove their worth, show their effort and report results on any number of marketing efforts—often in real time.
Still, the changes in the CMO’s role are also a double-edged sword. Perhaps stressed by the over-the-top marketing efforts of their competitors, 80 percent of CEOs’ have expressed dissatisfaction with their CMOs. What’s more, CMOs have the highest turnover rate in the c-suite, lasting on average only 3 years. In today’s marketing arena, there is simply so much to do and know that burn-out is a foregone conclusion.
So, what are the habits of highly successful digitally transformed CMOs? And how do they simplify their work to prevent burn-out in the long run?
- Focused completely on the customer and CX: Honestly, we could boil all eight habits of highly successful digitally transformed CMOs to just this one: focus on the customer. And, not just often, but always. Think of the customer as your boss. By keeping the customer front and center, the CMO can bring some focus to the number of new technologies coming their way and show greater discernment in choosing only those that truly suit their needs, be it AR, AI, or customer-facing chat-bots. At the end of the day, the customer is driving digital transformation, and the customer should be the core of every tech decision.
- Using AI and analytics in all aspects of marketing strategy: Yes, big data can be overwhelming. But it can also help eliminate a lot of decision-making when it comes to which marketing campaigns are working, on which channels to launch a new ad campaign, and what new products a customer is looking for. Data is your friend! When used in conjunction with AI, it will simply both reporting and decision-making and save you a lot of time in the process.
- Collaborate with other departments: Today’s companies are tech companies—every single one of them. That’s why it’s imperative for CMOs to involve all departments throughout the enterprise in technology efforts and decisions. If you’re pulling data from an AI app no one is using or use tech no one else in the enterprise has access to, you’ll be disappointed in your results.
- Be open to technology and tech change: The only thing constant in digital transformation is change. And in an age of as-a-Service and use-as-you-go programs, today’s CMO needs to be agile, changing technology as needed to meet customer demands. There is no time for clinging to your favorite vendor or involving your ego in what you think works best. Follow the numbers and change as needed.
- Step outside the box – be creative in ways to attract customers: Whether you like it or not, today’s CMO is one of the principal drivers of revenue in today’s enterprise. In fact, a recent survey showed 27 percent of CMOs are the principal driver of revenue—beating even the CEO by 5 percent! That’s a lot of responsibility! That means one of the habits of highly successful digitally transformed CMOs is to attract customers in new and exciting ways, be it smart beacons, AR, or highly targeted marketing. Customers want things now—and they want to feel good when they get it. As I said above, keep their desires in mind, and the right tech will find you.
- Improve your communication skills – both internal and external: Knowing what customers want means communicating with—you guessed it—customers. Today’s CMO needs to savvy in both realms, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to map the customer journey. When you map the journey, you can take a look at some of the weird detours your customers are taking—how you can get them back on track—and how you can make the journey even more enjoyable.
- Think like a futurist: One of the most important habits of highly successful digitally transformed CMOs is that they think about tomorrow—not just today. The look ahead to possible disruptions. They constantly think of new ways to reach out and analyze inward. The digital transformation never stops moving—and today’s CMOs need to move even faster.
- Keep it simple: The most important way to ensure success in almost any environment is to keep it simple. Start small. Test. De-clutter. Collect only the data you need, use only the tech that supports your customers, and be ready to change at a moment’s notice. (Hint: when you keep things simple, agility flows much easier.)
Targeting the habits of highly successful digitally transformed CMOs is not rocket science. However, it does take a huge commitment to rolling back to the basics—digging into one’s customer experience and making every decision based on the good of the customer, its contribution to future growth, and its improved customer loyalty. Yes, it’s a lot to manage. But keeping the customer in focus will help tremendously in the process.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.