The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Innovative CMOs challenge the status quo to deliver significant value


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Marketing is undergoing a profound and lasting shift and 95% of Canadian chief marketing officers (CMOs) admit past formulas are no match against new disrupters. For CMOs to stay ahead of the pack, they must redefine their role more broadly than it has traditionally been by making the customer central to their thinking and vision, not just in the services they provide, but in how they pivot and adapt as a company.

As a recent Accenture report explains, a small cohort of innovative CMOs (17% of CMOs worldwide, including 30% of Canadian CMOs) are driving transformational change at the highest levels of their organizations, by leading measurable growth, adopting fresh value propositions, and engaging with consumers in new and emerging channels. By challenging the status quo, these CMOs are able to constantly anticipate and respond to changing customer needs at immense speed and deliver significant business value.

Three ways pioneering CMOs are transforming their organizations

Reinventing for the now and the new

Pioneers consistently seek alternative sources of growth and they foster a more forward-looking mindset than their peers. These pioneers are 15% more likely to be experimenting with new and innovative solutions and 8% more likely to be in-sourcing new capabilities. However, Canadian CMOs are more likely to spend most of their time managing disruptive growth by pursuing new avenues and overturning conventional legacy thinking and processes. Canadian CMOs are ahead of the curve but they still need to be continuously innovating to successfully deliver on the ever-evolving needs of customers. If not, they risk being left behind.

Take, for example, PepsiCo’s purchase of SodaStream and its launch of Spire vending machines. Both ventures empower customers to personalize their drinks to their own tastes, whether in or out of home. Both are examples of new revenue streams that accrue from asking how the customer experience can be continually improved.

Rejecting a broken marketing culture

Future-oriented CMOs in Canada infuse a customer-centric culture that shape their marketing strategy. The study found that 61% of Canadian CMOs believe customers expect their organization to continuously innovate with more relevant products, services and experiences that adapt to their needs and set new standards. They are also focused on embedding the right capabilities to deliver better customer experiences, such as immersive experience designers who connect digital strategies to physical experiences for a connected customer experience.

For instance, Aldo Group were seeing good traffic numbers on their mobile site (70% of overall traffic), but consumers were not necessarily carrying out transactions on that platform. They added several technology solutions to their existing offer to give customers the best possible experience no matter how or where they shop, including Apple Pay and other mobile payment solutions to adapt to consumer habits. The use of AI to process consumer data (location, interactions and preferences) in real-time also helped offering ultra-targeted products in an instant.

Rewiring operating models for growth

Pioneering CMOs are rejuvenating their organizations with a new, more connected operating model and are dedicated on influencing the broader organization. The pioneers are 12% more likely than Canadian CMOs to be expanding beyond traditional agency partners and are 21% more likely to be engaged with the possibilities offered by digital platforms.

The study found that pioneering CMOs actively partner with others in the C-suite to create customer-obsessed organizational cultures. Far more likely than their industry peers to spend most of their time driving disruptive growth, these CMOs also describe themselves as “innovators,” using emerging technologies to predict customer behaviour and identify untapped revenue streams. In Accenture’s Marketing Disrupted podcast series which recently launched

The time for marketers to act is now

Canadian CMOs must now take four key actions:

  1. Pursue disruptive growth to improve customer experiences and better sustained growth
  2. Unlock value by building agility into their organization to evolve around the changing needs of customers
  3. Leverage analytics to drive insights that best inform growth strategies
  4. Leverage partnerships to create innovative new products, services and solutions.

Doing so will allow their organization to stay ahead of the pack and deliver significant business value.

Get inspired to act now with these insights:

  1. Marketing Disrupted podcast: The new podcast series featuring hosts Brent Chaters and Amber Mac explores the evolving demands for CMOs and their organizations to thrive in the age of digital disruption.è
  2. Way Beyond Marketing: The rise of the hyper-relevant CMO: A small cohort of CMOs are pioneering a profound shift in marketing.
  3. Rethink the Role of the CMO: There is a tremendous opportunity for senior marketing leaders to step into the redefined role of marketing and collaboration—the CMO Collaborator—leading their organization into a future of unparalleled collaboration to deliver world-class customer experiences.

About the author
Brent Chaters is Accenture’s Canada Digital Customer & Marketing Transformation lead. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience both as an applied marketer and consulting for marketers through multiple industries working for some of the largest Fortune 500 brands around the globe. He is a co-host of the new podcast series Marketing Disrupted, the author of Mastering Search Analytics, and co-author of Multichannel Marketing Ecosystems: Creating Connected Customer Experiences. He has taught for ISDI & Harvard’s Global Executive Master Digital Business on both Social CRM and Customer Experience. He also recently signed on as a judge for the 2019 CMA Awards in the Brand Building discipline.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. As a result, the Chamber cannot be held responsible for published content.

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