56% Of ‘Growth CMOs’ Prioritize Data Analysis Ahead Of Brand Building, Storytelling

The tools that are prized by the modern Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) continue to change as marketing becomes ever more technologically oriented. More than half (56%) of “growth CMOs” prioritize data and intelligence analysis as the top skill to help them evolve their growth agenda, according to a survey of 191 global CMOs from CMO Council and Deloitte.

Additional mandatory skills include:

  • Market insights and knowledge (50%);
  • Holistic view of the customer journey (49%);
  • Brand building and development (47%); and
  • Storytelling in a digital world (44%).

This emphasis on data and analytics has broadened many CMOs’ portfolio. “We are an extremely data-driven company,” said Monica Deretich, VP of Marketing and CRM of the JustFab business at TechStyle Fashion Group in a statement. “Yes, we collect data and feedback directly from our members so we can optimize her experience and keep an eye on the market around us. But as an organization, we are also committed to actively analyzing revenue performance data and looking for signals that identify and support efficiencies.”


Today’s growth-oriented CMOs understand the difference between short-term pops in engagement and transactions versus long-term, sustainable expansion through revenue-focused strategies.

“The CMO’s role in revenue growth will start to shift from focusing solely on the everyday customer funnel management, which is about tomorrow’s growth, and will instead look at how growth is achieved one or two quarters down the path,” said Shoumyan Biswas, VP of Marketing at Flipkart. “The CMO must be more strategic, not as tactical or short term.”

Many CMOs remain focused on brand development, customer engagement, lead management and media mix modeling. But these executives are missing opportunities to focus on business transformation initiatives like mapping global expansion, facilitating mergers and acquisitions, shaping pricing strategy or actively advancing distribution channels.

As many as 82% of all CMOs believe they are the primary driver of brand development and storytelling, but only 50% believe they own customer experience strategy development, the report said. Additionally, only 7% say they are the “data guru” that understands the voice and expectations of the customer.

“Sales and driving incremental revenue growth are the first steps on the path to profitability, but this is not the destination,” noted Liz Miller, Senior VP of Marketing for the CMO Council in a statement. “What best practice leaders have demonstrated is that ownership of experience strategy and voice of the customer must inform key business decisions, ranging from product specification to identification of market expansion and global market readiness. This will require a new mastery of data and intelligence, along with skills that cross finance and operations boundaries that most marketers feel uncomfortable and unprepared to cross.”

The survey revealed that 46% of CMOs indicated that they are “fairly well positioned” to reach their intended growth goals, but only 18% consider themselves “extremely poised” for success.

Silos Still Constrain Businesses; CMOs Must Bridge The Gaps

Functional silos often can block the companywide integration of comprehensive customer data or the development of organizational customer experience strategy. As many as 36% of growth-driving CMOs say silos plague their business, and 47% of all other respondents say silos that keep data and touch points separated threaten to derail the success of growth strategies.

While these silos can be a hindrance to the company’s progress, executives agree that the solution isn’t simply to remove silo walls. Doing so can threaten functional stakeholders and heighten a company’s aversion to risk. Instead, these executives should actively build connections between each silo, treating each group as a center of functional and tactical excellence that can be integrated and aligned into the overarching customer strategy.

When it comes to aligning business growth goals, 71% of all CMOs surveyed see the President or CEO as their primary ally, followed by the head of sales (56%) and line of business leadership (38%). However, growth-driving executives also see the board of directors as a key ally, with 35% indicating the board is a champion of growth strategy development.

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