News flash: The CMO’s job is changing. Okay, maybe that isn’t really breaking news. The CMO role always seems to be evolving but what is new – or at least worth paying attention to– is how CMO’s are structuring their organizations to be strategic, and what marketing professionals should be doing to adapt. These trends apply to all aspects under the purview of the CMO but are very apropos to the customer advocate niche.

Around this time every year, various analysts and organizations present the findings of surveys to predict trends for the coming year. Two recent reports caught our attention, one by the Association of Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising and the other by SiriusDecisions. If you’re in marketing, customer success or sales enablement the results are worth noting.

ROI and KPIs

CMOs are evaluated on measurable key performance indicators including return on program investments and contribution to revenue. CMOs get that; so do CEOs. But do others downstream in the organization? Program objectives and metrics have been around a long time and have been the de facto measure for marketing effectiveness, but these measures have not necessarily been linked directly to the revenue goals. That is going to have to change. Advances in technology and the blending of CRM and marketing automation now allow CMOs to tie financial results directly to marketing campaigns and initiatives. Connecting employee performance and marketing programs to both program-specific process goals and strategic organizational goals is now essential.

Programs Up, Staffing Down

According to the Sirius Decisions survey, most CMOs are increasing their program budgets and decreasing staffing plans. Existing staff will be compelled to increase efficiencies and develop scalable methods as CMOs assemble a marketing organization staffed to produce measurable contributions to revenue and address the fundamental focus on customer success. This trend dovetails with the use of technology and automation, which I’ll get to later.

“CMO marketing tech spending is on track to exceed the CIO technology spend in 2017 as marketing looks after a growing number of customer touchpoints.”

Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2016 – 2017

Customer Experience is a Marketing Job

In the era when an increasing percentage of customer journeys take place outside of sales funnels, Marketing’s role as the champion of a customer-centric culture is growing. Branding, thought leadership, marketing campaigns, social media, and customer advocate initiatives are all critical areas where Marketing is creating and controlling the content. The CMO is also positioned to drive customer-focused initiatives throughout the organization.

More Collaboration

Because customer success isn’t isolated or linear, all customer-touching activities need to be coordinated. Marketing and the CMO are positioned at the crossroads of these functions. Furthermore, Marketing is in the ideal position to leverage data from each department to paint a comprehensive picture of the customer and customer health. To be successful, CMOs need to garner cooperation from their C-suite peers for everything from branding and positioning and budgets to KPIs and technology adoption. Without cooperation, the potential benefits of the synthesis of information are lost, and marketing becomes a tactical cost center again.


Programs and technology are now integrated and intertwined across traditional departmental lines. CMOs increasingly leverage automation to accelerate achievement of corporate goals, creating economies of scale, and driving integration and collaboration across the enterprise. The advantages of employing technology only increase when these applications are integrated with other key systems and adopted throughout the enterprise.

In my next post, I’ll delve into how all this plays out in relationship to customer advocate programs.