C-suite leaders want marketing to step up and lead the charge in revenue-generating activities, according to a new report by the CMO Council. Business leaders also expect marketing to drive demand generation through impactful and relevant campaigns and a seamless, cohesive customer journey.
However, the report found that C-Suite leaders still feel their marketing team is behind the curve in areas such as a digital customer experience if the organisation is to meet the needs of the modern customer. C-suite leaders listed the modernisation of marketing organisation, systems and operation (42%) as the top area of deficiency in digital leadership that marketers need to overcome.
This was followed by proficient, technically savvy managers in key digital roles (40%), greater customer knowledge and market understanding (37%), adaptive, informed decision-making based on good data (34%), and the ability to make a business case for marketing spend (30%).
At the same time, C-Suite leaders also identified demand generation and sales pipeline development (50%) as the top key area that marketers need to improve on when it comes to taking charge of revenue-generating activities. Campaign ideation, execution and impact (47%) came in second followed by customer journey, acquisition and conversion (45%), marketing planning to support digital growth strategies (42%), and actioning on customer data insight (42%).
The pandemic has been a challenging time for most companies globally and organisations are turning to marketing to spearhead the road to recovery. According to the report, 52% of C-Suite leaders are moderately confident in marketing's ability to lead growth recovery in a challenging global economy this year. Meanwhile, 17% said they were extremely confident while 29% said they were somewhat confident. Only 3% said they were not at all confident of marketing's ability to achieve success in this area.
In the same thread, as C-Suite leaders turn to marketers to build a customer-first model for the company, they feel it is important for CMOs to be customer experience advocates and champions (62%) of the brand. It is also essential for marketers to act as digital transformation/marketing automation leaders (54%) within the organisation. Being a brand reputation custodian and value creator (51%) and maestro of communications and demand generation (51%) were also among the top few essential roles listed by C-Suite leaders in the report.
The CMO Council surveyed 120 senior corporate executives in partnership with the C-Suite Network, Business Performance Innovation Network, and the Harvard Business School Association of Northern California. The report was sponsored by consulting firm Chief Outsiders. The C-Suite Scorecard survey was fielded online using the Qualtrics platform in the second quarter of this year. Survey participants included a mix of senior management executives across companies of all sizes, industry sectors and diverse leadership roles.
Nearly 40% of respondents were in companies of more than US$1 billion in annual revenue and an additional 21% were drawn from mid-sized companies with revenues of US$100 million to US$1 billion. The remaining 39% came from companies with less than US$100 million in annual sales. The majority of respondents were from North America (84%), with some representation from Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Key titles represented in the survey population included CEO (15%), president/COO (12%), EVP/SVP (21%), line of business (LOB) leaders (14%), functional leaders (14%), department heads (8%), and business team leaders (8%). All major industry sectors were represented with the largest percentage coming from the technology, financial services, professional services, pharmaceutical, entertainment, and consumer product sectors.
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