What CMOs Of Tomorrow Need To Focus On Today

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What will be the face of the CMO of tomorrow?

It's no surprise – the marketing industry is changing rapidly. The introduction of new technologies and strategies that focus on data-driven insights call for an evolving set of skills that shy away from the “Mad Men” days of marketing and dive into new territories that blend the traditional with the evolutionary.

But building the ideal “marketing team of tomorrow” isn't always easy. Technology trends often shift quickly, leaving organizations struggling to keep up – or catch up.

This is especially true for leadership at the upper echelons of larger organizations. These roles require a breath of experience, which typically stems from years of industry experience.

 “Many companies can't find data-driven marketers or tech-savvy marketers fast enough,” Rob Cosentino, SVP of Business and Marketing Strategy at Epsilon said.

Change starts from the top

According to an article from the American Marketing Association, CMOs of tomorrow need to continue to own their organization's brand, while spearheading innovation through a deeper understanding of data, design and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence. 

“The CMO must enable teams to work faster with technology and identify opportunities to do so, not just in marketing but across the organization. The CMO has now become the go-to person when it comes to transformation."

A CMO who understands how to utilize data and technology in a “big picture” way can help build a team with more refined and specialized skills. This leads to more strategic hires that can focus and execute specific marketing strategies.They'll also be able to make smarter decision on choosing the right tech platforms and justifying buy-in.

The marketers of tomorrow need to be “half-marketer, half technologist,” Cosentino said. “They see both sides.”

Building your team

Millennial marketers – and ultimately, Gen Z marketers who are ripe to enter the workforce over the next several years – obviously lack real-world experience. However, they're typically more technologically-savvy and more versed in skills like programming, ops or analytics.

As AI and machine learning become more integrated into marketing strategy, the importance of team members who can operate, analyze and execute these technologies will be paramount.

“They don't have to be pure statistician – but they do have to be analytically focused,” Cosentino says of hiring entry-level marketers.

Luckily, emerging MarTech platforms are also simultaneously making these technologies more accessible than ever before. 

“In more traditional marketing, there's a campaign or a project and the marketing team would turn to their IT department and sort of ‘pass things over the fence' which isn't as organized,” Cosentino said. “The technology has become more user-friendly now.”

Looking ahead

Modern marketing is in a time of transformation. Think about what marketing was like 10 years ago, when smartphones were just gaining traction and Facebook was only four years old. As time goes on, technology is only going to get more sophisticated.

If the ideal CMO needs anything, they need to be ready and willing to embrace change, and not be afraid of innovation.

“They have to understand tech, they have to understand data, they have to understand advertising,” Cosentino said. “Because that's where everything's going.”

“Or, maybe what's needed could totally change,” he added. 

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