Authors: Gordon Stanley, Consultant at Leathwaite

With the rise of social media, the public and government perception has become vitally important for businesses. This is reflected in the growing prominence of the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The CMO not only continues to be in charge of brand and business strategy but is also increasingly engaging with big data and digital technology. Thus, the rise of the CMO is arriving hand-in hand with the expansion of the role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

The rise of the CMO alongside the CDO:

To keep up in the ever-evolving digital revolution, CMOs are under pressure to constantly broaden their skillsets and take on multiple roles. Businesses are aiming to use a widening number of channels to proactively establish a rapport with their consumer base. As a result, being ‘tech savvy’ is no longer enough. CMOs are increasingly required to be experts in digital as well as in traditional marketing. This requires a closer working relationship with the CDO who should now be an essential part in producing an effective digital marketing strategy.

The role of the CMO requires simultaneous attention on two important areas – one focused on brand, communications and business strategy, and the other on analytics, data, customer segmentation and social media. Both areas are essential for companies to maintain their reputations and ensure progressive growth. The CMO’s engagement with big data intrinsically links digital and marketing operations. CDOs are able to segment different customers through data analytics, however, it is the marketing officers who then engage with them by targeting their identified trigger points through tailored marketing strategies.

The recruitment challenge:

Due to a fierce competition for tech skills in the UK, businesses have been experiencing a sector-wide struggle to tap into the digital talent they need. Now, bringing in marketing talent alongside digital expertise is creating an even bigger recruitment challenge.

The squeeze on recruitment is causing a cross-industry movement of marketing talent over various sectors. Marketers from the retail, publishing, media and technology sectors are in wide demand due to their marketing practices often being more sophisticated and technical. In addition, more junior, innovative marketing gurus who are not the battle hardened poly-qualified executives costing businesses significant funds are particularly sought after but in relatively short supply. 

The importance for businesses to capitalise on customer data is set to continue. As a result, the next five years are likely to see the demand for digital, alongside marketing talent, exceed supply as the movement of these professionals across different sectors and the upwards pressure from boards to recruit them increases. In order for businesses to maintain their reputations and ensure progressive growth, the relationship between marketing and digital practices must continue to be nurtured and the marriage of the CDO and CMO must be cemented.