Essential Skills for Today’s CMO

Jan 9, 2019

Essential Skills for Today’s CMO

It’s a new year, and changes are sure to come in the digital marketing landscape. The industry is volatile as ever, with the emergence of new channels, new technology, and changing customer preferences. We expect several industry trends to proliferate this year, but what do these changes mean for marketers? In particular, how can the modern CMO ensure success in 2019 and beyond?

The role of CMO sits at the intersection of organizational and technical functions. In addition to owning the traditional responsibilities of managing the company’s overarching marketing strategy, brand voice, and public relations, the modern CMO must also stay ahead of emerging technology, understand how to make the most of vast amounts of data, and adopt a truly customer-centric mindset.

Below, we lay out the four skills that are essential for the modern CMO to succeed, in the new year and beyond.

Adept at Data

The concept of “data-driven marketing” has been thrown around for a while now, but the sheer volume of customer data available to marketers continues to proliferate. Many marketers struggle to aggregate data from disparate sources to create a consolidated, comprehensive view of their customers.

Any modern CMO needs to know the ins and outs of managing all of this data. At the end of the day, a wealth of data is only as good as the marketer’s ability to extract insights that inform effective marketing decisions. Whether that means implementing a customer data platform or other data management tool, it’s essential for the CMO to know when and how to use the technology at hand to get the most of their data.

Practiced in Personalization

For many marketers, the practice of personalization is limited to delivering ads for products that the customer searches for online. Meanwhile, they neglect to provide effectively personalized customer service, leaving many customers to seek more rewarding relationships with competing brands.

A competitive customer experience is one that builds upon every interaction that the individual has with the brand. Today’s customers expect to be recognized by their favorite brands as more than just a shopper on a website; customers want meaningful interactions that are tailored to reflect their consumption preferences, existing relationship with the brand, and lifestyle. The modern CMO needs to be the master of customer experience, continually improving how the brand connects with the customer via personalized engagements across channels.

Proficient in AI and Machine Learning

Digital marketers have long been preaching the value of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Certainly, AI and ML tools are critical to leveraging data for efficient and effective decision-making. At the same time, “AI” is too often a catch-all buzzword that marketers don’t fully understand. Today’s CMO needs to understand the opportunities and challenges that these technologies pose.

As advancements in these technologies continue to be made, marketers may soon have unprecedented capabilities for personalized messaging and predictive marketing. While this potential is exciting, the CMO needs to be discerning in which tools truly provide value to their team. It’s essential that the CMO understand these technologies and how they will supplement other customer engagement efforts.

Traditional CMO Skills

As much as the role evolves to keep up with changes in the industry, certain fundamental skills will always be integral to the position of CMO. A successful CMO needs to be forward-thinking, a strategic storyteller, and an excellent collaborator across various organizational functions. The traditional and technical skill sets go hand in hand; the modern CMO must wield a balance of both.

This is by no means an exhaustive list; the skills necessary for a CMO are as diverse as the industries they navigate. Regardless, the CMOs who achieve success are those who combine an innovative approach to data and technology with a keen instinct for driving business strategy and growth.

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