Forrester: CMOs want more influence and better tech knowledge

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Forrester: CMOs want more influence and better tech knowledge
Forrester: CMOs want more influence and better tech knowledge

Chief marketing officers want greater influence in business strategy and to improve their understanding of technology, according to a new global CMO survey by Heidrick & Struggles and Forrester Research.

Almost 80% of senior marketers said they wanted their influence to grow as business strategy and development leaders, the report said, and 42% of CMOs said that representing the voice of the customer is one of the most critical factors in ensuring personal success as a marketer.

“Finally CMOs and their peers understand that the real challenge is not so much just to be the leader of the marketing function, but that they have to become the experts of the customers,” said Luca Paderni, VP and principal analyst at Forrester. “They must understand what customers represent for the whole organization to help shape the strategy for the overall business.”

The companies surveyed about 200 global marketing chiefs from companies including AT&T, Red Robin and Sears Holdings, to measure the influence of the CMOs within the organization. The survey asked questions about the CMO's business objectives, the skills and competencies necessary to drive the organization and the technologies required to do so.

According to the report, 38% of CMOs said that building C-level relationships is the skill they most want to improve. “Oftentimes we see organizations where the CEO calls an executive manager meeting but the CMO is not invited,” says Paderni. “The challenge for the road ahead is to bring accountability of the marketing function and include the CMO's point of view to evaluate the impact of marketing on the business.”

The report also found that CMOs want to improve their understanding of the digital sphere. Forty percent of the CMOs surveyed said that increasing their technology savvy is their top self-improvement goal this year, up from 18% in 2008. “It's not that a CMO wants to own technology, but it does indicate a basic fundamental change that all media is going to become addressable and it is going to be optimized on digital platforms,” said Paderni. “A lot of marketers are realizing that they need to be more up to speed on the technology since now more budget is focusing on it. It is too big just to delegate.”

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