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The most crucial impact that a CEO today looks for from a CMO is growth


The most crucial impact that a CEO today  looks for from a CMO is growth

KP Unnikrishnan
Vice President – Marketing, Asia Pacific & Japan, Palo Alto Networks


The evolving role of CMOs 
The role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has undergone a major transformation over the past decade. It has further accelerated with the pandemic. CMOs once were the owners of all things creative and brand, but now it has evolved considerably. Many CMOs are now responsible for every aspect of the customer experience (CX), marketing technology (Martech), customer insights (data and analytics), existing install base customer growth, new logo acquisition and, ultimately, making an impact on the bottom line.


And if you look back over the past few years, businesses have been working on getting more customer-focused, targeted and personalized. All these facets come under the banner of CX. The pandemic has proved that CMOs and teams need to ace it on multiple fronts – on the one hand, they need to be on top of buyer behaviours and trends, and on the other, be hyper-aware of the competitive landscape, historical business performance and wider megatrends. Marketers are at the front end of the customer touch; hence they frequently become the owners and drivers of CX. The scope and depth of this can be expansive and stretch beyond the traditional domain of an organization’s marketing function. We see more CMOs leading the charge in driving CX.


Contribution towards strategic business discussions
Many CMOs have significantly improved their level of influence within their organizations by deepening their understanding of the business, marketplace, and customers. They realize that this is an opportunity for them to move from a support function to a strategic one and add to the competitiveness of the business.  Well-rounded CMOs are those whose responsibility extends to CX, product strategy, innovation, return on investment, communications and all the traditional marketing functions. The most crucial impact that a CEO today looks for from a CMO is growth. To rise to this expectation, they must leverage the many resources available to them and go above and beyond in delivering extensive brand and business value for all stakeholders, and that too at scale.


Real-Time Marketing to Drive Sustainable Growth
Customer data volumes have been growing with the acceleration of digitization and online sales. With a surge in e-commerce growth, ensuring a single view of the customer and the ability to act on it have become critical factors for success. Digital transformation on the consumer and enterprise fronts is driving the creation of real-time data on customer habits and preferences. Thanks to this data, marketers now have an in-depth understanding of customer preferences and know what is driving their habits. 

They can leverage this to enable effective decision-making and create insights-driven marketing activities. Furthermore, combining this data with AI and ML-enabled MarTech tools can change the game for marketers, bringing a great deal of personalization, accelerating go-to-market to keep pace with customers’ changing behaviors, and sharpening ideation and execution of strategies. All these abilities call for a strong data-driven marketing mindset which is foundational to making real-time marketing drive sustainable growth.

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