The chief marketing officer (CMO) title is no longer fit for someone who performs a single role with untraceable results. CMOs of the future must be all-in-one professionals, performing the tasks of journalists, programmers and even scientists.
This ever-evolving job, as I’ve learned during my 16 years working in the digital marketing industry, is not an easy one. But it is crucial for companies to stay ahead of quickly advancing marketing technologies and trends, and your CMO can lead the way. If you’re in the market for a new CMO — or want your current marketing officer to brush up on his or her skills — these traits are critical for success:
They Are Comfortable Using Metrics
Metrics are crucial to know not only how to respond to certain results but to know what actions to take in the future. Being able to understand and use metrics makes all the difference between success and failure for a CMO. Some of the most important metrics include click-through rates, social media reach, blog views, traffic sources, cost per lead, ROI, etc. One of our client’s CMOs helped me to predict their success during our first meeting when he began discussing different key metrics and algorithms right off the bat, which to me was a sure sign of success. This client ended up being one of our most successful, due in large part to his ability to create a strategy based on metrics and data.
They Understand Big Data
Every successful marketing department and company around the globe will soon use big data and predictive analytics. The future CMO must know how to take advantage and utilize the technologies aimed at storing and analyzing big data to come up with new insights. The CMO must go further than simply being able to obtain these insights, but know exactly what to do with them in a way that makes spending more precise and results more than optimal.
They Continue to Evolve and Learn
If there is anything that is constant in this world, it is the change in technology, which has a direct effect on marketing strategies. The CMO of the future won’t just keep up with these changes — they will actually be able to take advantage of them in a way that keeps their marketing strategy ahead of the competition. Being able to continually evolve, learn and predict changes in marketing trends and technologies will result in a successful marketing department.
They Apply the Scientific Method to Marketing
The scientific method includes the five steps you learned back in middle school: make an observation, form a hypothesis, conduct an experiment, analyze results and repeat. These same steps applied to digital marketing result in a more precise and accurate strategy. For example, Google Analytics allows you to form a hypothesis, including improvements in your current marketing plan, that you can experiment with by using A/B tests. They then allow you to review the results and repeat with new improvements if necessary. This allows you to build a solid marketing plan before investing large amounts into specific actions.
Lately, I’ve seen more and more engineers and mathematicians joining marketing companies; they bring with them the ability to apply the scientific method, giving those companies a great advantage. If your CMO can think like a scientist, you’re in good hands.
They Think Like Journalists
No matter your industry, there will always be a need to create eye-catching content that draws in your target audience. Thinking like a journalist will help you to increase traffic to your website, increase click-through rates, enhance the quality and originality of your content marketing efforts and even increase the time viewers spend on your website.
I realized the value of having a CMO who thinks like a journalist when my company won the Best Workplaces 2014 award. We had various journalists writing articles about our company, but one in particular stuck out. He was a journalist who thought like a marketer. One article received 500,000 views as compared to a few hundred or few thousand that the other journalists received.
They Work Well With Your Programmers
Every successful marketing team has a successful team of programmers. Most programmers are precise people; it’s essential to learn how to speak their language in a very specific way that allows them to understand exactly what you are asking for. Programmers can also benefit from breaks throughout the day to talk with other co-workers who think in a different way, to recharge their batteries and come up with better ideas and solutions.
They Embrace Native Advertising
Nowadays, in order to win a client, you need to stop interrupting and start interacting. Ad blockers have become increasingly popular and have forced marketers to move away from forceful ads and start creating ads that produce value for the user. The goal of native advertising is to draw the customer into your ad by evoking emotions or providing them real appreciated value. The CMO of the future won’t chase clients; they’ll use native advertising to attract them instead.