Studying the CMO’s Role in Today’s Digital World

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At Vivaldi, we spend a lot of time working on our points of view and thought leadership. In the past, we’ve pioneered the term of Social Currency and explored the topics of consumer behavior, the effect of technology, and other marketing topics.

Over the past few months in the Fall of 2013 and Winter 2014, we spoke with CMOs across three continents and asked them about the changing nature of their roles. We are compiling their insights into a research report we will release in the upcoming weeks. We’ve also been able to use their thoughts to drive the agenda of the Vivaldi Digital Darwinism Summit ( in February and, of course, our client work.

In the research for our report, CMO’s explained that:

  • “How can we create value for our customers in the digital age?”
  • “The biggest strategic mistake is lack of focus. People use “strategy” in a very loose way, aiming to pursue huge markets without specificity.”
  • “The CMO needs to be the voice of the customer by conducting research that’s linked to the technology, which leads me to learn from my peers and how technology is changing consumer behavior.”
  • “Both the CMO and CIO need to be very close and have compatible skills.”
  • “Similar to creative skills, data management skills will be increasingly important for marketers.”

Every CMO repeated variations on the above thoughts. While the focus is still all about reaching customers — today’s landscape of digital and social tools have resulted in a new game for marketers. CMOs referred to the challenges and potential of these new digital tools. Thanks to two-way conversations between brands and newly enabled customers, touchpoint management is gaining even more importance to create truly satisfied customers. But as Kevin Lane Keller, professor of marketing at Tuck School of Business, explains, “Not just consumers are empowered these days…also companies are!”

Indeed, the influx of data creates the need for smarter, quantifiable analysis that opens up the opportunity to reach consumers on an individual basis, instead of marketing through sweeping generalizations. Prof. Keller also agrees, saying “Big data does not just provide the macro view. It must go down to the individual and enhance customer’s life.” Coupled with the responsibility of being accountable for business drivers and P & L, CMO’s find it is not that the role has changed, but the entire game of marketing is new. CMOs will need to focus on continuous learning and open mindset to the challenges of the marketing in today’s world.

In our report, we outline:

  • Five Areas of Marketing in Change
  • Three Skillsets due to the implications of the change

Stay tuned to our blog and website as we finish the report and release it in the coming weeks.
We’ll also be referring to the findings at our Vivaldi Digital Darwinism Summit.