Digital MarketingNew Forrester report focuses on the redefinition of the CMO role

New Forrester report focuses on the redefinition of the CMO role

Forrester is out with a new report, "Predictions 2020: CMO," that discusses the redefinition of the role and CMOs' responsibilities around customer outcomes.

A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) must assert control of various corporate functions that define what’s best for the customer. That’s the key takeaway in the first report of predictions by research firm Forrester about the redefinition of the CMO role, “Predictions 2020: CMO” [for purchase or existing clients].

The report points out that the CMO position is changing radically, as the web and other factors fundamentally change the nature of marketing.

The key driver, says Forrester: CMOs now hold key responsibility for customer outcomes, which means they now cover customer experience, company values and purpose, customer acquisition, often sales enablement and sometimes even employee loyalty or aspects of product/service innovation.

Last year, Forrester predicted that enterprise CMOs would see a decline in their fortunes. In fact, dozens of CMO positions at large companies have recently been eliminated or re-defined, including ones at Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, Netflix and Walmart.

Direct-to-consumer startup Birchbox has a chief customer officer instead of a CMO, while Mars turned its CMO role into a chief growth officer.

All about the customer

As CMOs try to master their changing roles, the Forrester report predicts that CMOs must assert control over those areas – including innovations, operations, media and sales as well as traditional marketing – that surround the customer.

In an age when a click can immediately take a customer to a competitor, customer experience is now a key differentiator – with marketing departments often bearing that responsibility. The Forrester report points out that CMOs are now becoming “more than storytellers,” as they evolve into story-makers, with consumers as participants.

Forrester notes that, for instance, Apple lets owners of its Watch contribute to health research data, which allows the tech company to tout its role in helping to save lives. Nike’s Adventure Club offers a sneaker subscription that encourages children’s play – and creates an ongoing relationship with the customer.

Countless other brands employ user-submitted content as part of marketing campaigns and contests, for instance, as customers become fans and fans become invested in the success of their brand. It’s no longer the case that marketing creates brand awareness and product demand, but that the role formerly called CMO oversees or informs everything relating to the customer’s interaction with the brand.


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