Does Your Future CEO Come From Marketing?

Traditionally, the CEO has come from just about anyplace but marketing. Companies bent on operational excellence might look to their finance teams or their COO to take the top slot.  Organizations focused on innovation might look to a CTO type.  Those focused on market share fished in their sales pool for their next big tuna.  But rare was the organization that focused on the dynamic relationship between company and customer.  Is it time for a marketing CEO?

There are strong indicators that the role of the CMO and the marketer is shifting today.  Where marketing was once seen as an art form, new technologies and advancements have allowed markers to be more fact based than ever before.  Where marketing was about creative; today it is about business value. What once was seen, as sales accelerators are now lifetime value enhancers.  In the race to the top slot in the company, marketers were always relegated to drive “Herbie the Love Bug” at the Grand Prix Monaco. Now, marketers are armed with the tools and technologies to give them a real shot at the race.

CMO - Moving Up In The Rankings

"When Gartner predicts that by 2017 the CMO's technology budget will exceed that of the CIO, and that 25 percent of the enterprises will have hired a 'Digital CMO,' a Chief Digital Officer, by then Gartner is, in fact, extolling the virtues of earned media.  Search, Social, and Content Marketing lay the foundation for the growth and rise of earned media," posits Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge and leader of Share13, the premier event run by digital marketers for digital marketers in San Francisco August 22-23.  The future for the marketer is near and dear to Jim as he and the team bring marketers together from organizations like Google GOOG +0.84%, Bing,Microsoft MSFT +1.46%, and SAP to interact with global brands like GapGPS +0.43%Macy's M +0.19%, Hilton, Symantec, and EA to discuss the blurring lines between B2B and B2C for these world-class organizations.

As the CMO looks to surpass the CIO in terms of budget, so will come a new level of accountability. This budget comes with strings and marketers will no longer be able to rely on "guesswork," or as Edwards Deming opines, "In God we trust.  All others bring data."  The future marketer needs a skill-set rooted in data, analytics, and business operations.  “Just driving leads is insufficient for the needs of the organizations.  They will demand both accountability and relationships with customers in a new era of digital transformation” says Andy Betts of BrightEdge.

Company Looking For LTR. Must Love Long Conversations and Long Walks On The Beach

The future marketer will know that as B2B and B2C blend, the real metric is going to be lifetime value for the customer.  How can you build a mutually beneficial, long lasting relationship with a customer? How can you measure that?  One way to approach this is to holistically reshape the marketing organization or even be bold and reshape the entire company around social business processes.  Helping the organization see that new tools and technologies now allow companies - who are willing to take the leap - the ability to develop real long term relationships with customers.  The entire organization makes the switch to become customer centric and will use tools ranging from strategic search to targeted content.  The future customer will be won by truly conversing with them. Andy Betts adds, “Adapting to a more holistic way of structuring how we present our products and services is no longer an 'added value' service but a necessity.”

Marketing Strategy Is Openly “Shared” Today

What is truly great about these conferences and networking events, like what Jim and the team has created with Share13, is that it gives marketers the opportunity to share their ideas and strategies with other marketers, and to engage in open dialogue around these ideas. What is openly discussed today will be a strategic competitive advantage tomorrow, much like email marketing and Click Thru Rates (CTRs) are placed in the company vault and guarded like the secret formula for Coke (which we all know is written on the back of the Declaration of Independence along with the floor plan of Amelia Earhart's pied-à-terre in Area 51).

I am proud to deliver the closing keynote at Share13 in San Francisco.  Interested in how marketers are viewing our future and how the rise of earned media heralds a new horizon for digital marketers?  Want to see what the powerful, valued marketing brands and organizations of the future looks like?  You just may get a peek at it in San Francisco on the 22nd and 23rd August or by following #Share13.


You can also follow Todd on Twitter @toddmwilms or LinkedIn.

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