The blurring roles of CMO's

The blurring roles of CMO's

I'm not sure if it is just me but, the more CMOs I connect with, the more I'm learning that they are no longer your stock standard 'Kotler 7 P' marketing folks.

They are a new breed of multi-talented individuals that have a deep understanding of all things digital, mobile, social, and customer experience related. If fact, CMOs are the key to driving the strategic customer journey while delivering customer centricity and brand values.

Not only that, they are incredibly media savvy, loyal and 'Big Data' driven, not to mention brutally ROI focused. And if that's not enough they are also totally conversant with all things operational, sales and IT. In fact, many now have all digital and IT teams reporting into them.

Clearly, the modern day CMO had to evolve quite rapidly to keep up with the ever-changing customer and competitor environments. And in a world of rapid commoditisation they have had to constantly strive to be one step ahead to protect the sustainability of their enterprise.

Where the roles start to blur is on ownership budget and team structure. Many CMOs will tell you that their budgets are fast being taken up by IT, CRM and Digital expenditure as they pursue multi-contact strategies.

In fact, it seems that the report by Gartner on marketing spend from 2012 clearly correlates with what seems to be this anecdotal trend whereby "by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO." 

What does this mean for the CMO and the CIO roles? Will they merge? Will one report into the other?

My thoughts (and for this I will probably cause a great deal of debate) is that yes, the roles will eventually fall in under an expanded CMO mandate.

Will it be by 2017? Who knows. But, please don't get me wrong here: the CMO will never be a CIO. They are totally different disciplines. However, the new CMO must possess the broad based necessary skills I mentioned earlier, to enable them to connect with and lead the combined teams. 

Greg Smith is CMO of member owned omni-channel book retailer, the Co-op.

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