For as long as there have been children and travel, frustrated parents have been subjected to repeatedly hearing a simple, “Are we there yet?” In their innocence, children seem to understand that all journeys should lead to a final destination; with those journeys never reaching their destination quick enough.
Empowered buyers have raised the ante to successfully win, serve, and retain them, increasing the pressure on organizations to accelerate their journey to customer obsession. But almost halfway through the decade, we find organizations struggling to find the right leader to seize the reins and transform the organization to be laser-focused on the customer. Enter the CMO.
In 2015, Forrester believes CMOs will step forward and take responsibility for turning the enterprise toward the customer, evolving their role into the engine that fuels customer-centric company growth. It’s time for CMOs to cultivate the trust, respect, and collaboration across the entire C-suite and use that influence to ask for the right to not only hold but also turn the keys to the customer.
My colleagues, James L. McQuivey, Moira Dorsey, Laura Ramos, Sarah Sikowitz, Tracy Stokes, and I therefore studied the landscape and expect CMOs to seize this new opportunity to both shape their personal success and accelerate the growth of their organizations in 2015. In particular, we predict that:
- CMOs will insist on taking charge as a full corporate officer. Bringing their knowledge about customers, markets, and competition to bear, CMOs will champion efforts to build a customer-centric organization culture, uniting all organization functions around a common set of principles and practices that build tighter customer relationships and differentiated experiences. With their stature and influence as a leader in the organization on the rise, CMOs will have CEOs’ ear for the first time. Leveraging their customer and competitive knowledge, CMOs will advise and council CEOs on how to win, serve, and retain customers to grow the business.
- CMOs will lead the quest for customer obsession by dismantling outdated organization structures in favor of customer-centric teams. In 2015, CMOs will rally the organization around winning, serving, and retaining customers as efficiently as possible, requiring specific changes to the organization that will affect how decisions are made, how success is measured, and what role outsiders like agencies will play. These CMOs will be skilled in change management and able to unify the organization around a common customer-centric vision.
We are also making predictions that require CMOs to take on a more significant role on the executive team and partner with their CIO to solve data challenges as well as advance the business technology agenda. They will also lead innovation initiatives to spark new ways to marshal digital tools to drive growth and identify places where technology can create a more engaged customer relationship.
In 2015, business as usual cannot be the name of the game. More of the same will not elevate a CMO to the level of influence we predict. Instead, in the age of the customer, CMOs must rethink their approach to marketing operational excellence to enable the kind of growth that the CEO will turn to them to achieve going forward. Done well, these savvy CMOs
face a year of unprecedented personal and business achievement.
To learn more about these predictions for CMOs in 2015, download the full report, and see the complete list of Prediction reports Forrester is published here. What do you think about these predictions? In your opinion, what’s in store for CMOs in 2015?