Published on November 9, 2023, 3:22 am
As we enter 2023, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are facing a business landscape that requires an unwavering focus on customer value, the evolution of marketing strategies, and continuous optimization of brand value. According to Ewan McIntyre, Chief of Research in Gartner’s Marketing practice, CMOs must take decisive action to prioritize investments and develop a strategy for the year ahead.
One significant trend CMOs need to navigate is the shifting behaviors of customers. With economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures, consumer demand and buying behaviors have become increasingly unpredictable. A recent survey conducted by Gartner revealed that 30% of consumers are opting for store brands due to cost-cutting measures, while almost a fifth have reduced in-person shopping trips in favor of digital purchases. This poses challenges for established brands looking to maintain brand preference and customer loyalty.
Furthermore, there is a growing trend among consumers and B2B buyers to withhold their personal data, making it difficult for CMOs to effectively track demand and engage with them through multiple channels. Additionally, evolving privacy regulations and technical safeguards related to consumer data privacy are rendering traditional digital marketing tactics obsolete.
To tackle these challenges, McIntyre suggests that marketing leaders should focus on creating a digital customer value exchange that provides mutual benefits across various touchpoints in the customer journey. By seeking opportunities for personalized engagements that genuinely assist customers throughout their end-to-end journey, marketers can enhance the effectiveness of their digital marketing efforts.
Another trend impacting CMOs is the importance of collaboration. Strategic marketing priorities such as innovation, customer experience (CX), and digital commerce now extend beyond functional boundaries and require complex cross-functional execution. However, shared priorities may divert funding away from marketing departments still recovering from pre-pandemic budget cuts and place additional strain on their already stretched teams. A survey conducted by Gartner found that marketing leaders who adopt an “independent” approach outperform self-described “collaborators” on annual revenue targets by nearly 25%. While collaboration is important in theory, those who put it into practice are less likely to exceed customer acquisition goals. To address this, CMOs must restructure their teams and develop the necessary skills to advance new cross-functional operating models. Streamlining operations, establishing common key performance indicators (KPIs), and orchestrating messaging throughout the customer experience can lead to greater marketing effectiveness.
Lastly, traditional sources of brand value are under pressure due to disruptive market entrants, heightened audience expectations, and the ease of digitally exploring unfamiliar brands. Audiences now face disruption at each stage of the traditional linear path to brand value, from awareness to consideration and brand loyalty. Established brands must adapt by repositioning themselves through emerging channels and innovative strategies. According to McIntyre, CMOs need to redefine and quickly demonstrate the value of their brand investments in this volatile environment. The strongest driver of brand commitment is a single meaningful brand experience, even with unfamiliar brands.
In conclusion, CMOs in 2023 face multiple hurdles that require careful navigation. By focusing on customer value, embracing digital transformation, fostering collaboration within their teams, and redefining their approach to building brand value, CMOs can position themselves for success in a rapidly evolving business landscape.