The C-Suite Boom: How Chief Marketers Are Keeping Ahead Of The Digital Curve

Originally Published in: Advertising Week 360

October 12th, 2015

Marketing has changed more in the last five years than it has in 50 years and it is largely due to technology driving this growth. 61% of marketers say that new tools affect how they reach audiences and analyze market effectiveness. As a result the CMO role is flourishing; we have seen an explosion in specialist c-suite fields such as the Chief Data Officer (CDO), Chief Consumer Officer (CCO), Chief Mobile Officer (CMO), and most recently the Chief Marketing Science Officer.

Digital, specifically programmatic marketing, has opened the hood of data-driven engagement and customer information – it is helping many businesses bridge the sales and marketing gap, enabling new views of consumer behavior and purchasing trends. New technologies can be daunting and some executives might think that a computer science degree could benefit their role. Marketers are often required to be a ‘Jack’ or ‘Jill’ of all trades, but here are some key areas to master that will ensure digital savviness.

Making sense of data and analytics

In recent years we have seen a shift from making decisions based on market research and gut instinct to focusing more on real-time data insights. The importance of data has developed the CDO role – even the British Government appointed in 2015. Customer information is now at the heart of business decision making bringing psychographic data (data that forms the personality of a consumer) to the core of marketing. In Q2 2015, research by the CMO Council and Ebiquity found that 64% of businesses are looking to employ external partners to operate their marketing data analytics. It is important to ensure that you work with a partner who gives you quality and actionable information on your customers, including basics such as financial status, interests, gender and age, to determine your path to purchase strategy. Today’s best chief marketers know their audience as individuals and can target with personal, real-time messages to drive accountable ROI.

Grasp the technology; consumer and supply side

Understanding the full capabilities of technology, from consumer to supplier, will ensure that you get the best value out of your creative and lift customer engagement significantly. Ask your digital or programmatic supplier how you can integrate your CRM data with your online marketing activity. A good partner will also be able to advise on how to get the most out of your social media and consult you on an integrated strategy, answering questions on privacy and brand safety. Lastly, in this cluttered technology market, ask your partner if you should be using a single or multi-stack approach to execute your marketing most simply and cost effectively.

One analogy I use to explain this is a car manufacturing production line. I started my career in the motor industry and in the ‘80s we were building something relatively simple – we’d put steel in one end of the production line and get the car out of the other. If you go to the same production line now you will find specialist devices (electronics, gearboxes etc.) literally bolted onto the side of the production line as an extension to the main business, however, fully integrated with it. The same is happening in media – a single stack solution may not necessarily be the optimum answer across all of the specialities and reach inventory that an advertiser requires.

Benefits for branding campaigns

It’s important to remember that advertising’s basic principles remain a constant across mediums and can be amplified and validated by programmatic buying, not replaced by it. Brands are utilizing new tools such as TV Sync (supports and enhances TV activity to align with digital channels), high impact formats, native, premium video, and special mobile formats to suit smaller screens in order to connect with consumers regardless of their platform. These techniques can help break down siloed communication channels, ensuring marketers harvest and action a wide variety of their valuable data.

As technology evolves, it is only natural for new job titles to emerge. Chief marketers don’t need a computer science degree, but instead should focus on choosing the correct specialists to help consult and execute their marketing strategies. It is vital to include all stakeholders in the process to ensure that everyone internally and externally is aligned on goals, from creative to digital. Following this approach will result in chief marketers doing what they do best – delegating the technical details to the experts to strengthen brands.

Written by:

Chris Dobson

CEO of The Exchange Lab


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