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Speed of change is biggest challenge for CMOs

The global CMOs of 18 leading brands have identified the speed of change in the digital space as one of the biggest challenges they face today, reveals a new book from global consultancy, R3.

Global CMO: Best Practice in Marketing Effectiveness & Efficiency Around the World – the third publication from R3’s Principals and Co-Founders, Shufen Goh and Greg Paull – examines the challenges arising out of digital transformation, derived from a series of interviews with the CMOs themselves and R3’s own insights from over 15 years of consulting experience with global brands.

Global CMO reveals how Digital Transformation has changed the modern marketing playbook. As the landscape shifts, global marketers have to balance advancing unique organizational initiatives with the transformation of their entire sector. “Many CMOs are spending more on technology than their CIOs or CTOs. In this new environment, global CMOs are doing what they can to stay ahead of the curve,” said Mr Paull, Co-Founder and Principal at R3. “They are expanding internal data capabilities and addressing the need to break down silos,” he added. As such, Global CMO focuses in on several different aspects of a marketing leader’s ever-changing responsibilities, including data, martech and adtech, e-commerce, and measurement. It also covers internal competition and the future of the role of the CMO, digital disruption across different sectors, as well as how these leading brands are building a modern marketing playbook.

Several common themes ran throughout the CMOs’ interviews, despite the differences between each sector. “The challenge is not the learning curve. The challenge is the ‘unlearning’ curve,” said Mukul Deoras, Global Chief Marketing Officer of Colgate-Palmolive. “To me, that is the biggest hurdle. How do you get off the horse you’re riding so that you can get onto another one?”

Another recurring theme was the role of digital in the organization as a whole, and how the marketing function cooperates with other departments to affect organizational change. “Digital is an enabler for every part of our business, not just in the marketing context,” said Francisco Crespo, Chief Growth Officer of Coca-Cola. CMOs are the C-Suite executive most likely to be leading digital transformation, but horizontal integration across silos is the only way to drive real change for the entire business.

“While many of these CMOs have already taken significant steps to prepare their brands for the future and steel themselves against the next wave of digital disruption, there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Mr Paull. Global CMO highlights the eight actions that marketing leaders can take to “future-proof” the function’s role within their organizations. These actions range from continuous education on the latest digital trends and improved measurement of ROI across both marketing campaigns and partnerships, to remaining a storyteller in the face of transformation.

“We believe that marketing is in a unique position to help lead global organizations on their digital transformation journeys,” said Mr Paull. “Global CMO seeks to identify the challenges that global CMOs are facing today, and identify what tools the CMO of the future will need to be successful in and increasingly digital world.”