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C-suite talk: How marketers can avoid getting sidelined in 2022

C-suite talk: How marketers can avoid getting sidelined in 2022

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The upcoming year will be an important transitional year for CMOs, as they are required to go beyond just knowing about branding and marketing to being knowledgeable about martech, customer experience, data and product chips. According to Forrester's 2022 predictions on the role of B2C CMOs, "not all CMOs are created equal" and it is the leader behind the title that makes or breaks the role. 

The pandemic has also tested the resilience of CMOs, pushing them to pivot and incorporate new aspects such as delivery models, brands experiences and communications strategies into their roles, Forrester said. How can marketers retain a seat at the table and not get sideline in the coming year? Industry players share how CMOs can retain a seat at the table and also retain the trust of CEOs in the coming year. 

Karin Zulkarnaen, CMO at Allianz Indonesia 
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My focus area for 2022 continues to be on growth, quality, and experience. For growth, that means creating a new market in a new segment currently underserved by us. Creating new products, stronger propositions to win such markets.

For quality, we focus on improving customer loyalty with data analytics to improve our relevant offerings as well as listening to customer voices with various tools to manage a positive reputation. The experience (customer, distribution and employee experience) is key. it is also important to create a memorable brand experience to attract new customers, focus on cross-selling to other products in the portfolio and expand the customer share of wallet. Supporting various distribution channels by generating more leads and strengthening each segment to lead the market is also crucial. I also plan to continue building the work culture within Allianz "Happy Life Made eAZy" with various engagement programmes.

A marketer should continue to build networks and build collaborations.

For example, partnering with industry associations to shape the direction of the industry, as well as other industries with common purposes. Those synergies can create a new driving force to differentiate us from our peers.

Matthew Godfrey, CEO of Nutrition Innovation 

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CMOs must feed the ROI back into strengthening their competitive proprietary data. They need to embrace partners that will enable them to take the lead in key social and eCommerce battlegrounds. CMOs must invest in creative excitement to drive loyalty as now more consumers are seeking fresh experiences to be unleashed from the repetitive and mundane. Experiences can be digital, real-world, metaverse, short or long. But CMOs must help consumers bring a sense of escapism, surprise, or adventure to their brands through engagement – or otherwise run the risk of consumers rapidly seeking it elsewhere.

To prevent being sidelined by a CEO, CMOs have to win internally to win externally. Colleagues will continue to operate in a more disconnected and distributed world. This impacts company stability, retention, culture, productivity and therefore, success. Marketers must use their marketing skills to unify the company’s resources around principles and issues critical to team spirit and improving the community. Be internally inspiring, purposeful and make smiles infectious. 

The world has been turned upside down and macro and micro-level changes are in abundant and opportunistic supply. Create a slice of corporate appetite for innovation and bold approaches.

Your crazy new idea could be tomorrow’s sure thing. Find it first or be a follower. 

Schrene Goh, group head of marketing at Pos Malaysia 

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Effective marketers have proven their resilience throughout this global pandemic; thinking on their feet, constantly innovating and exploring new ways of doing things never imagined possible before. Those who succeeded in pivoting the way they do business and spearheading new customer engagement strategies to sustain or exceed revenue targets must be given a pat on their shoulders.

While most of us are still reeling from the ever-changing business landscape and shifts in consumer behaviour, 2022 is the year where we need to rethink what works for our business. This encompasses revisiting our product or service offering once again and enhancing customer experiences across all channels. For example, content strategies should have the versatility of being a mobile-first experience yet adaptable and easily enhanced at all other customer touchpoints.

CMOs today must see themselves as the new CXMO, chief experience and marketing officer.

CXMOs need to be the 'centre of gravity' within the organisation and beyond, to enrich the customer experience and drive digital transformation.

While the CXMO must be extra resourceful in using data analytics to increase the brand and product value, one must also be armed with the creativity and aptitude to drive innovation and create new revenue streams.

Goh Shufen, principal and co-founder of R3 

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We are living in a network economy, and it makes sense that companies want leaders who have experience in a business where “network” is the operating system. The most effective CMOs understand this and will retain their seat in the boardroom by incorporating it into their pursuit of integration.

Marketing integration is such a game-changer for business. It improves overall financial and organisational performance, and it is this that gives CMOs their unique value. Specialists will be hired. New business units created. Titles might change to fit the needs of talent and company structure.

But a good CMO will bring systems, design (network) thinking, and into marketing and apply it to agency and compensation structures, tech stacks, creative and media.

They will create a network of partners, content, and data, into a seamless, cohesive, and unique experience.

Demonstrating a commitment to integration will also help CMOs maintain the engagement and trust of stakeholders. A CMO who can’t create connections and see how each part of the supply chain can edify and strengthen the whole will be seen as a broken link. A CMO with insight and imagination with be the most valued gamechanger.

Daniel Hagmeijer, chief digital officer at The Body Shop Indonesia 

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The focus for many CMOs has been far too much around communications only - and not enough on aspects such as strategy, product and experience, and business growth. As such, many companies are now replacing the CMO role with a chief customer officer or chief experience officer role to help align the company around the customers and their objectives. CMOs must have the responsibility to utilise data and analytics to generate insights to deliver better customer experiences across the end-to-end journey.

This means the CMO - or whichever title a company goes with - needs to drive digital expertise and technology adoption across the business to create new customer offerings and experiences for the company to be able to stay competitive today and tomorrow. However, this doesn’t mean the role of the storyteller doesn’t exist anymore.

Storytelling to differentiate the brand from competitors while driving affinity with the customer will always be a core aspect of the role.

It’s just that there are now many more stories to be discovered and to be told on different platforms, including in-store, in social media, on the web, in apps, and on TV (in several markets where TV is still king). Marketers that can adapt to a customer-centric mindset using today’s available tools will be the ones who will be able to tell the best stories and create the best experiences. 

Join ourDigital Marketing Asia conference happening from 9 November 2021 - 25 November 2021 to learn about the upcoming trends and technologies in the world of digital. Check out the agenda here.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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