Rise of the Digital CMO

Jaclyn Crawford Foresight, Guest Post Leave a Comment

Using technology to eliminate the digital disconnect in the C-Suite, increasing productivity and ROI

By Will Wiegler

These days, it’s hard to imagine life without technology. No matter the industry or application — whether sales or service, media or medicine — technology has become an intricate and inextricable part of every facet of our lives.

However prevalent, one glimpse into many C-suites across the country reveals evidence of a digital disconnect. That’s because, like other revolutions before it, digital marketing has taken hold not at the executive level, but from the bottom up, originating with twenty- and thirty-somethings who came of age on the social web and are now steeped in digital culture and practice.

risegraphAll of which means that, despite the changes in Corporate America, assimilation to the digital culture at the executive level remains incomplete.

While it’s true not all CMOs have been slow to convince their company’s executives of the importance of digital marketing, for many others, efforts to make digital an integral part of their marketing plan have been less successful. For these CMOs, resistance from the executive ranks born of unfamiliarity, fear or even misperceptions about what digital marketing means for a brand remains an obstacle to overcome.

Solving the Digital Disconnect: A 5-Step Process

According to a recent Gartner, Inc. report, 70 percent of marketing organizations have a Chief Technologist on payroll reporting to the CMO. By 2015, an estimated 25 percent of companies will have added the role of Chief Digital Officer to their C-suite.

In order to foster an environment in which digital marketing becomes a driving force behind brand interaction with current and potential customers, today’s CMOs need to toss out the old playbook and look to create new digital experiences and revenue streams that will engage consumers in both the physical and digital worlds and provide a sufficient return on investment. Following are five ways to do just that.

1. Hire smart, digital, tech-savvy employees and empower them. Making a case for digital marketing is a tough sell when few share your vision. Bolster support by bringing new voices to the table and then empowering them to address the challenges your brand currently faces with digital-oriented solutions, and watch as resistance from among the executive ranks begins to fade.

2. Challenge your teams to think beyond what’s currently done. Opening the discussion to how digital marketing might fit into your brand’s big picture also opens the door to ingenuity. Once members of your organization glimpse the possibilities digital affords, adopting new strategies will become a logical next step.

3. Partner with forward-thinkers. Sometimes, an outside perspective is all it takes to fuel an initiative that’s been stalled by shortsightedness. To get the most for your investment, be sure to work with an agency that lives and breathes digital marketing and one that will serve as a complement to the team you already have in place.

4. Admit what you don’t know. Social, mobile and other forms of digital marketing aren’t new concepts, but when it comes to understanding how to best use these channels to reach an audience, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface. As a CMO, admitting you don’t have all the answers sheds further light on just how vast and untapped the digital marketing frontier is and encourages more discussions on how to capitalize on the opportunities it presents.

5. Harness the power of digital metrics to illuminate results. Old school marketing lives in the world of analog, where measuring the impact of a campaign is an imprecise exercise. With digital, everything is measurable and traceable to its source, allowing you to make real-time adjustments for maximum results. Track, monitor and measure every digital initiative, no matter how small, and let the results speak for themselves.

Harnessing the Power and Potential of Digital from the Inside Out

By creating new digital experiences and revenue streams, today’s CMOs have an unprecedented opportunity to reach and engage with consumers across the physical and digital worlds and draw them into a more intimate relationship with the brand through targeted, contextually relevant experiences and offers.

Much like Apple has done with music, Amazon with IT infrastructure, and Netflix with movies, digital marketing also enables brands to redefine how value is created and delivered.

For those CMOs who are experiencing a digital disconnect at the executive level, digital marketing will be an inside job at first. However, if you’ll take the time to follow the five steps outlined here, you’ll be well on your way to engaging with your customers on an entirely new level — and repeating the benefits as a result.


wweiglerWill Wiegler, CMO,leads the global marketing team for The TAS Group, driving strategic marketing programs, branding and lead generation activities. The TAS Group helps sales professional increase their sales velocity with a combination of proven sales methodology and intelligent applications, built on the Salesforce Platform

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