The rise of the marketer: bigger budgets and more resources

The 2017 Mood of Marketing report showed how marketers are driving data discussions within their organisations, and leaning in on tech stack choices. But driving the strategic decisions in an organisation is one thing, implementing and executing it is quite another. With 76% of our marketing leaders expecting their presence at the top table to grow over the next three to five years, that’s going to mean increased budgets and resources.


The changing role of the CMO

‘It’s not enough to be a brand expert anymore - successful organisations expect CMOs to drive commercial outcomes as well as their own technical destiny. Smart CMOs recognise that and are stepping up to the challenge, bringing their teams along with them.” - Kursten Shalfoon, co-founder and director, The Exponential Agency

In his role as a consultant Kursten Shalfoon has tracked this change over several years. “Once the CIO or the CTO would have taken the big decisions on IT platforms. But as the purpose of these platforms has changed, and as marketers are more often taking the lead on customer data, that’s shifted. Data is now the gateway to achieving marketing outcomes within an organisation - that’s naturally meant the CMO’s view is now crucial around things like CRM and integrated data driven marketing”.

Mood of Marketing bears this out - almost half of all respondents told us they expected their budgets to increase in the next twelve months. Although increased ownership of “traditional” customer focused areas such as content and personalisation were two main drivers, equally prominent was martech - 79% of our respondents believed their team would be responsible for CRM in the organisation within the next three years.

That’s a strong performance when viewed globally - in the corresponding US CMO Survey, only 41% of respondents claimed responsibility for CRM. And that number has only increased by a couple of percentage points in the last two surveys. At a time when many people still look overseas for leadership and trends, it’s pleasing to see New Zealand marketers driving the agenda. Of course that has implications for marketing budgets. Savvy organisations understand that. The Mood of Marketing report reveals that those companies showing growth turned out to be those most likely to give budget, and responsibility for areas like customer experience and data analytics, to their marketers.


Better marketing through accessible tech

Platform providers play a subtle role in empowering CMOs and their teams. Most are getting much better at marketing themselves direct to the CMO, losing the technical language they traditionally used, and instead pitching their products in terms of marketing outcomes. That’s likely a response to marketing’s increased ownership of tech decisions. Smart providers now present their solutions as part of the marketing ecosystem. By simplifying the technology challenge and talking to potential customers directly (as marketers to marketers) this has helped accelerate the shift in decision making and budgets to CMOs.

Nathalie Morris understands and supports this shift. Over the last few years she’s seen several enterprise level data projects struggle to achieve take-off - a common factor was their origin as IT lead projects. This isn’t just an “ownership thing” either. As Nathalie points out, many organisations now expect their marketers to deliver marketing automation campaigns through in-house technology and resource.

“If marketing teams are defining the outcomes and delivering the campaigns, it is really important they hold the budgets and lead on tech decisions. Organisations who hand marketers a fresh “out of the box” platform are surprised when their marketers struggle to make it work. They often end up paying the vendor to help manage, which is not an ideal outcome. To make these projects work there needs to be a clear flow from engaging the marketing teams on requirements and marketing outcomes, and then giving them the budgets and scope to choose. The projects that I see delivering clear value today generally originate and then deliver in this way”.

The race to secure resource

Of course, it’s not as simple as handing the CMO a bigger cheque. If marketing is now controlling more of the martech budget, that brings another challenge - resource. As Nathalie points out, traditional marketers are creatives, excited by campaign, brand, and media messaging. Now these same marketers need a tech-savvy layer, offering a hybrid skillset equally at home in creative or technical worlds.

“The environment’s changed - marketers need a different skill set. Successful marketers will use data in their decisions, and need at least working understanding of how that data is generated and then analysed to support decisions. Some organisations will expect them to build, execute and manage campaigns through inhouse martech. It’s important organisations have CMOs who instinctively understand data. Leading the discussion at the top table is so important in getting the right decisions for both marketing and the organisation”.

Digital engagement and technology (almost 75% of Mood of Marketing respondents acknowledged a need to recruit martech specialists), data analytics, and social are three skills CMOs seek in today’s market. Almost all CMOs acknowledge the challenge of finding and recruiting these skills, adapting to the challenge in different ways.

A new set of skills

For the last nine months ACG Education’s Group Marketing Director AnaMaria Rivera has worked with her ICT team rolling out a new CRM platform for the group. The process exposed a martech skills gap. “A centralised CRM gives us a much better data outcome, but only if we have the resource to effectively use it. Working with talent, we identified people in our team we knew had a technical base - identifying and upskilling these guys has meant a continuation with the team, and given them a real connection to the new platform. It’s worked well for us, even if we have still needed to bring in new heads for key roles that just didn’t exist previously”.     

CMO at ANZ, Astrud Burgess, has used both recruitment and changes in reporting structures to address this need. Coming from a direct marketing background, she has a keen sense for the possibilities of data, and was instrumental in driving data driven marketing within the organisation. As her data strategy started to land, her team began to grow. Her traditional marketing and brand responsibilities have now expanded to include data insights, modelling, and analysis.

“Technology and EDW (the enterprise data warehouse) are the two areas we as a marketing team have had to make the most learnings around. Having data insights, modelling, and analysis within the team creates a naturally collaborative learning environment. It’s let our digital marketing team also stay focused on innovation - the pace of change is so fast we really want the digital marketing guys to stay at the front of that wave, bringing digital learnings back into the more mainstream parts of the team”.

The more things change…

So what does all of this digitisation and focus on data mean for the traditional skills of marketing? How does brand retain significance in a data driven world? Could this explosion of customer understanding mean an end to the world of marketing as we know it?

In our final follow up to Mood of Marketing we’ll take a closer look at how our CMOs see brand in the digital world, and spend some time understanding why some of the old arts of marketing are now more relevant than ever.


Missed the first and second installments? Find them here:
Part 1: Leading New Zealand marketers share how to get started with data
Part 2: How successful marketers deal with data disruption

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