How to Elevate the Role of CMO

By, Chris Prescher, Chief Strategy Officer, 50,000feet

There is much talk about the diminishment of the CMO. Like the entire C-team, the CMO is evolving and the importance of a versatile and adaptive CMO is greater than ever before. As the average tenure of a CMO continues to shorten, many businesses such as UPS and Walgreens have eliminated the CMO position altogether. Yet, CMOs fulfill an essential role in both growth and long term organizational success.

At 50,000feet, we have observed a winning formula for a CMO who combines a data-driven strategy with customer empathy and emotional insight. This left-brain/right-brain approach enables CMOs to combine a mastery of emerging technologies like AI while maintaining an awareness of the customer’s emotional connection with their brand. With this in mind, we offer a way in which CMOs can elevate their roles to deliver return and drive impact within their organizations.

Audience Insight

To remain central to growth and longevity, CMOs need to develop and own a 360-degree insight into all stakeholders’ perspectives, blending quantitative data with qualitative understanding to discern what makes their brand resonate. This means moving beyond data-driven strategies to embrace the human element of business, thereby fostering an empathy-led organization.

Brand Stewardship

To have a guiding impact, CMOs must uphold the brand’s alignment across all company activities. As brand steward-in-chief, CMOs ensure that marketing initiatives embed an element of relationship-building to support and drive enterprise value. This requires taking a holistic view of the brand’s impact on business decisions and cultivating a brand strategy that serves as the North Star for the organization.

The most effective CMOs strengthen brand stewardship through the integration of brand strategy with business strategy, attracting new audiences and seizing market opportunities. By positioning the brand as a differentiator, CMOs craft unique relationships with their audiences, securing long-term value and standing out in the marketplace. While brands have an indirect relationship on the bottom line, a CMO can create a strong connection between the brand’s value as a business asset and its ability to drive business growth. One way is to connect stakeholder insight to business growth. CMOs must take ownership of delivering exceptional customer experiences across all touchpoints, fostering trust and loyalty and  transforming customers into brand advocates. This sustains the business and maintains relevance as customer preferences change.

Technological Leadership

CMOs must master the technologies shaping customer experiences, applying these tools not only for marketing efficiency but also to enhance human connections. Predictive analytics aids in understanding shifting trends and identifying emerging customer segments. Generative AI uncovers present-day customer preferences that a CMO may have overlooked before, synthesizing vast insights from known customer behaviors. Proficiency in both forms of AI enables CMOs to optimize current customer relationships and adapt to evolving needs.

Elevating the Role of CMO

Elevating the role of the CMO hinges on a crucial element: metrics. This means 360-degree metrics that measure the impact of a brand across all the stakeholders: customer lifetime value of customers and consumers, employee retention of employees, and stock performance for investors, among others. This more comprehensive measure of value is needed not only for the CMO but for any brand to establish and maintain its position in the market.

Ultimately, the CMO’s value extends beyond marketing to encompass a broader business perspective. By demonstrating how brand strategy contributes to business success, CMOs can align their goals with those of the CEO, becoming indispensable allies in driving market relevance and resilience.