What are the top predictions for marketing leaders heading into 2016? To find out, I turned to some of the leading experts, including CEOs, Presidents/GMs, CMOs, authors and executive recruiters.
Prediction #1: The CMO will Have the Seat Right Next to the CEO
From Kirk Borne, Principal Data Scientist, Booz Allen Hamilton
As digital marketing becomes the central hub for business offerings, technology applications, customer experience management, social media engagement, and financial risk management, the CMO role will grow into one of the most sought-after and trusted advisors in the C-suite and the executive boardroom. The core CMO responsibility is still marketing, but the universe of people, products, and processes that marketing now entails is expanding both physically and virtually in every direction that digital business is moving. Buckle up, it’s going to be a fast and forceful ride!
Prediction #2: CMOs will be Picked for More Non-Profit Executive Leadership (CEO) Roles in 2016
From Matthew Boyle, CMO, AAFCPA
There are many executive directors in nonprofit organizations throughout the country that are past or approaching retirement age. CMOs are ideally suited to fill these positions because of their ability to articulate the mission and generate excitement around the brand, which is critical for long-term success. These CMOs will make ideal candidates to lead nonprofit brands hungry for leaders who are naturally relationship savvy.
Prediction #3: CMOs will Build C-Suite Capability to Leverage Social Media and Drive Total Business Results
From Penny Wilson, CMO, Hootsuite
2016 will be the year CMOs at organizations big and small embrace social media as a way to improve the bottom line through their marketing campaigns. This year, we will see the CMO influence the rest of the C-Suite to implement social media strategies both internally and externally to further business initiatives beyond marketing, to sales, customer service and employee advocacy. Next year we will see the acceleration of social media and the solutions to participate in relevant customer conversations will be the next powerhouse in marketing.
Prediction #4: Marketing Leaders who Excel at Meeting Customers on the Go Will Win
From Juliet Daum, Executive Director, Communication & Marketing, University of Virginia Darden School of Business
Our digitally connected, always-on world is increasingly dominated by mobile technology. We use smartphones, tablets and wearable gadgets to get things done, to seek and share information, and to explore new ideas and places — often while on the go. Google coined our shorts bursts of online activity ‘micro-moments.’ The brands that thrive in 2016 will be those that excel at capturing customers’ attention and trust by delivering the right content, in the right dose, at the right moment, informed by the right data. Customers today seek engagement on their terms, which means marketers must ‘pull’ them in (by offering valuable, searchable content; dynamic social media engagement; and top-notch visuals, including video and infographics), ‘push’ out their messages (through tasteful, personalized communications), and create opportunities to shake hands (though we’re on the go, we are human).
Prediction #5: CMOs Driving Customer-Centric Change Agendas Will Be Better Positioned for CEO Roles
From Caren Fleit, Senior Client Partner and Leader of the Global Marketing Center of Expertise at Korn Ferry
Since customer-centric companies have customers who are more loyal and better brand promoters, as well as earn a greater share of wallet, they typically have higher revenue growth, stock price and market share. So it would seem obvious that customer centricity would be every company’s focus, but not really―only 7% of companies earned an excellent customer experience rating according to their customers. As companies wake up to this huge disconnect and make improved customer centricity a priority, it often falls to the marketing leader to drive this transformation agenda across the customer journey and the enterprise. In order to help guide their organization on the journey to becoming more customer-centric, marketing leaders must drive organizational alignment and break down functional silos like never before. This implies very different leadership skills and an ability to think about the business much more holistically, beyond the classic marketing roles. CMOs who are successful at driving this change are well positioned to take on additional responsibilities and, ultimately, even a CEO role.