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Ibm says cmos are under fire

October 11, 2011

IBM just published its latest global study on Chief Marketing Officers and the findings make for interesting reading.

This is clearly a discipline that is under a lot of pressure and trying to cope with a ton of challenges that are being thrown its way.

Here are some of the study’s most important learnings.

1. CMO’s are challenged on a number of fronts

The biggest issue is the explosion of data mentioned by 71%, followed by social media, channel fragmentation, shifting demographics and only fifth of the list, financial constraints. Years after the first argument about ROI, the debate rages on and despite the proliferation of data, we seem no closer to proving the effect of marketing.

2. Understanding their consumers is a top priority

CMOs see this as a priority, but are mainly using traditional market research techniques to help. Only a minority are mining their data or looking at alternative sources like social media, reviews and other internet sources. They seem committed to CRM, social and mobile media moving forward, but are challenged to prove its value and ROI .

3. Building Relationships is an opportunity

CMOs understand the important role that social media can play to move customers closer to purchase, but the report suggests they are missing the opportunity to develop engaged relationships with their existing buyers. The focus is too much on the sell and not on building loyalty.

4. Internal Marketing

CMOs believe they are doing a reasonable job marketing their organizations to the outside world, but recognize they are having a tougher time getting their own employee base on board.

5. ROI

There’s recognition from CMOs that this is a key focus and that they are going to need to measure more effectively. To do this, they recognize they need to hire experts who can help them. Net-They recognize how important ROI is, but feel ill-equipped to provide answers.

6. CMOs Handle Promotion- Not Much Else

Although the four Ps are supposed to represent the marketing portfolio, it’s clear from IBM’s study that most CMOs are oriented towards promotion and don’t really touch the other Ps.

IBM’s study shows today CMOs need a lot of help and guidance- it’s clear they need consumer insight more than ever, but how they obtain it and use it looks very different today. ROI is still the big thorny issue and it’s going to take a lot of smarts, good systems and expertise to get close in on solving this. Finally, it’s clear to most people that marketing is more than just communication, it’s the totality of the experience, if CMOs have little control on the areas and can’t motivate their employee base, the marketing function will face considerable challenges moving forward.

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