Gathering our community
In December, the BBTP community gathered at our monthly Member Meeting to hear from our expert member, Tomi Kinnunen. Tomi has more than 20 years of experience working with leading Finnish brands. He helps companies in marketing development as an interim manager and consultant.
In case you missed it, we have summarized some key points from the presentation below where Tomi explores the evolving role of CMOs. We hope you can join us next time to get the full scoop.
How is C-Level marketing changing for the better? Or... is it?
From news reports over the last five years, the working period of CMOs is getting shorter and shorter. The average time is about 3-4 years and is among the shortest of C-level positions. In the meantime, growth positions have been on the rise, sometimes replacing the CMO’s seat at the table. However, Tomi does not see this trend as something that places marketing professionals as a victim or something to take defensively. Rather, he presents it as a challenge for CMOs to evolve.
Tomi charges marketers to think about how they can contribute to the future— getting in front of the change and positioning themselves to promote company growth and revenue.
Tomi has identified six tips to help CMOs in the coming years, breaking them down one by one for BBTP members:
- Think like CEO
- Be human obsessed
- Drive digital transformation
- Justify investments
- Lead the brand
Think like CEO
In the quest for sustainable growth, CEOs are constantly looking for ways to increase revenue and profitability. At the moment, they do not always look to CMOs. To become the CEO's trusted partner, CMOs must align marketing strategies with financial objectives. CMOs need to identify new opportunities, expand into markets, and optimize products or services.
However, the challenge lies in the evolving scope of CMO responsibilities, traditionally centered around the 4Ps of customer interactions: product, price, place, and promotion. With the emergence of new roles —like Chief Digital Officer and Chief Growth Officer— and the distribution of 4P ownership to various functions, the lines of a CMO’s responsibility can become unclear. Furthermore, misaligned expectations between CEOs and CMOs regarding the primary role of marketing within the organization can hinder success.
Bridging the gap between CEO and CMO requires CMOs to understand business goals, align with CEO expectations, and establish open and trustworthy relationships. This will help CMOs effectively contribute to revenue growth and stay relevant at the top level of company decision-making.
Be human obsessed
The concept of customer obsession has been a buzzphrase for a while now. Recently though, it has been redefined as a focus on human obsession. Encompassing both Employee Experience (EX) and Customer Experience (CX), human obsession recognizes that customers are intricate beings with emotions, values, and beliefs extending beyond transactions. Thus, to be human obsessed, the future CMO must understand human behavior and psychology.
The shift to human obsession not only facilitates meaningful connections with the audience but also fosters long-term loyalty. As marketing becomes a harmonious blend of art and science, CMOs are prioritizing the attraction and retention of top talents, fostering a culture that unifies employees around a shared purpose. Despite these changes, seamless and personalized CX remains a central concern for CMOs, prompting the exploration of strategies and tools to engage customers effectively and build enduring relationships through prioritized feedback.
Drive digital transformation
Given the increasing reliance on technology for customer interactions, CMOS must lead the charge in digital transformation. In this effort, CMOs should avoid tech hype. Instead, they should develop a deep understanding of data, analytics, and AI to make informed marketing decisions.
For future CMOs, the focus should be on using new technologies judiciously and translating data into meaningful insights. Most importantly, CMOs should recognize that raw data and customer studies hold no intrinsic value unless transformed into understanding and wisdom.
In an increasingly data-driven world, it is no secret that marketing budgets face scrutiny. For CMOs to stake their place in the future, they must adeptly demonstrate the impact and value of their programs. Justifying investments involves gaining insights into business outcomes, embracing data-inspired leadership, and showcasing tangible results.
Beyond Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS), CMOs need to track and communicate Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)— understanding the total costs and impact of the marketing function. Moreover, CMOs must recognize the distinction between Operational Expenses (OPEX) and Capital Expenses (CAPEX) and strategically invest in initiatives that increase long-term brand value. This shift from immediate expenses to long-term brand-building investments reflects a nuanced understanding of marketing's financial dynamics.
Effective collaboration and cross-functional alignment are paramount for CMOs who aim to deliver a seamless customer experience and align their initiatives with broader business goals.
Traditionally, CMOs are known to collaborate closely with sales, customer service, and communications. However, these should not be the CMO's only friends. Partnering with the CFO is more important than ever. By working collaboratively with the CFO, CMOs can ensure that their marketing strategy is not only creatively compelling but also financially aligned with the company's objectives. This partnership allows for the justification of additional budgets, with clear success metrics agreed upon by both parties— facilitating better scalability and the ability to pivot or realign strategies to achieve desired outcomes. Collaboration between CMOs and CFOs becomes a strategic alliance to drive profitable growth and provide management with a clear understanding of the expected return on investment.
Another avenue of collaboration is through projects and interim work. Embracing the trend of shorter-term marketing positions, future CMOs can be better about sharing their ability to jump in and help where needed. To find new opportunities, collaboration must be focused both internally (within the marketer's current company) and externally (with the wider community).
Lead the brand
The role of the CMO is changing. Looking ahead, it's evident that CMOs must step into the role of the chief brand steward, overseeing the brand's reputation, image, and voice. While storytelling remains a crucial aspect, CMOs must go beyond creating compelling narratives. They need to identify and respond to shifting customer behaviors without losing sight of the brand's core values and position.
Future CMOs who emphasize innovation, profitable growth, creativity, and collaboration, are poised to lead their companies to success. Moreover, the impact of sustainability expectations on brand value underscores the need for CMOs to discover relevant ways for the brand to address environmental, corporate social responsibility, and governance issues. A systematic definition of the brand's position, purpose, and offerings enables CMOs to strategically navigate the changing dynamics of the market.
Lastly, in their efforts to lead a company's brand, CMOs must not forget their personal brand. By honing and promoting their own CMO vision, marketers can reflect on their past contributions and be open to opportunities to impact the future.
Thank you Tomi Kinnunen for speaking at our December Member Meeting
The BBTP December Member Meeting, featuring Tomi Kinnunen, provided a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities for CMOs. As marketing continues to play a crucial role in driving business growth, CMOs must adapt, collaborate, and lead strategically to succeed.
Want more from Tomi?
Tomi has also recently written a guest blog post for BBTP's partner, Ferovalo, about the use of Interim Marketing Managers:
- Read in Finnish: https://www.ferovalo.com/news/tomi-kinnunen-markkinoinnin-vuokrajohtaja
- Read in English: https://www.ferovalo.com/news/tomi-kinnunen-interim-marketing-manager
If you would like to get in contact with Tomi about his presentation or an upcoming opportunity, feel free to contact him directly.
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