The Role Of Marketing Director In the Future

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Crisis of confidence

The position of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for several years remains the most rotating in the business. Moreover, this is not only a review of responsibilities but also the abolishment of the post of marketing director and the transfer of its functionality to a commercial director or development director.

Over the past ten years, many large companies have withdrawn it from their structure. So, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Uber, and McDonald’s have this post already abolished. Growing mistrust and the number of claims to the CMO is because the market does not have a single idea of the marketing tasks. The debate on the abolishment of the CMO post has been ongoing for a long time.

Back in 2012, the president of the International Institute for Management Development, Dominique Turpin, predicted the imminent death of this post and the inevitable departure of the CMO from the board. Turpin justified his assumption by the fact that the functionality of marketing directors is associated more with creativity than with pricing, while the board of directors expects the head of the marketing function of the company’s growth, rather than bright creatives.

In 2016, The Economist, a British magazine, conducted a large-scale study of the CMO`s work and concluded that by 2020, most of them would be reassigned to directors for user experience due to the growth of Internet communication channels. Besides, the post of marketing director is the shortest. On average, CMO has been working for 4 years.

Digitalization, which entailed the rapid spread of social networks and online sales, stimulated the development of marketing in general, but at the same time cast a shadow over the head of this unit. Now, any department and any employee of the company to some extent is involved in the sale of goods. In turn, the commercial result is affected by the entire experience of the brand interacting with the buyer, which means that the marketing director’s functionality in the conditions of mobile technology development is spread across all structural units of the company. Wanting to optimize processes, the CEO sees a way out in the transferring responsibilities of the CMO.

What is expected from CMO now

According to statistics for 2018-2019, only every fourth request for the selection of a marketing director contains a paragraph about the creativity of the candidate, but 80% of the queries feature an analytical mindset and the ability to work with big data. Two-thirds of companies expect their marketing director to understand the theory of generations as well. Only one query in the last two years did not mention metrics:

  • ROI – Return of Investment
  • ROMI – Return on Marketing Investment
  • LTV – Lifetime Value
  • CPC – Cost per Click
  • CPA – Cost per Action

What will marketing be like in 2022?

The vast majority of CMO and CEO (92 and 87%) are sure that serious changes await marketing by 2022. But they see the future main tasks of the marketing director differently.

What competencies should a marketing director have in 2022?

Most marketing directors distinguish among their core competencies the following:

  • digital thinking
  • strategic thinking
  • leadership skills.

Regarding the first two points, the CEOs agree with them, but on the third point of view, they differ. Most CEOs still expect to see creativity in their marketing director.

Also, CEOs would like CMO to be able to make innovative decisions in business development (36%), noting that marketing is increasingly focusing on creating brands and products with meaning, and personalizing customer relationships. CEOs expect to achieve business growth through their CMO (29%). Besides, it is important for top managers that their marketing director use digital tools (21%) and understand the target audience (14%).

What gives marketing rise to concerns right now?

38% of the CMOS agreed that the main pain of modern marketing is the low level of competence of middle- and junior-level cadres. Due to the lack of qualified professionals, digital marketing is currently the most affected. 

Marketing directors also noted an increase in the requirements for the profession (27%). Market competition is increasing all the time, and audience loyalty is falling along with the conversion. Models that worked yesterday were already ineffective today. CMO noted serious changes in the profession over the past decade and are confident that the further transformation of their role will take place at an even faster pace, and, therefore, the pressure on them will only increase.

Marketing directors are also worried about the constant emergence of new tools (9%) because due to the growing specialization of certain marketing functions, the manager can no longer remain at a high level of competence. Also, the requirements for the quick achievement of goals by management (7%), associated with the need for CMO to move from long-term planning of results to achieving goals in the short term and from strategy to tactics, cause concern.

How can a marketer remain occupied?

Change. By 2022, the rate of change in technology, economics, and consumer habits in the profession will increase. To match the pace of change, marketers will have to be the first to try new technologies and ways to communicate with customers, selecting the most suitable tools for their companies. There are many specialists on the market who, 5-10 years ago, won professional prizes, but now they are left overboard. They did not do their job worse but did not want to learn new things and change, preferring to play safe.

Take responsibility for the financial result. The rate of the marketing director is increasingly reduced, and its functionality is transferred to the commercial director. The latter is used to being responsible for financial performance. Marketing promotion without a result and performance indicators has become a rudiment – now, to spend, you must first make money.

Perform different functions. Marketers need to work closely with IT and PR departments to influence the business and the final result more. Product development itself becomes a marketing responsibility. If you do not interact with other functions and work in isolation from production, then you will become the first candidate for replacement, and it will be easier to automate or redistribute your function.

Think in numbers. The era of value judgments and marketing creativity has been replaced by the dominance of digital analytics and statistics. Research, big data analysis, conversion, reach – no more marketing decisions will be made without digital justification. To be able to count, think through the prism of numbers is the new reality of the marketing director and the ABC on which all further work is based. Already, KPI marketing should have specific measurable indicators, which are revenue growth, digital portrait of the target audience, LTV.

Build customer relationships. Constantly keeping in touch with the client, foreseeing his desires and habits, knowing his goals, interests, personalizing relations with him is a priority for a marketer. It is important to consider the nature of the brand and the style of communication. The brand should promote exactly those values that are important for the client. The positive emotions associated with the brand enhance customer loyalty. Marketing, built on emotions, is already becoming the main source of successful sales and a means of fighting brands for consumers. Most successfully and organically it is used by the entertainment industry, media, and sports. And it is from them that one can learn the art of creating an attractive brand image.

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