March 02, 2022
The connected global economy and collaborative digital workplace has seen an upsurge in the transfer of experiential knowledge, peer-inspired content sharing, and influencer-driven decision making based on trusted insight and advice from fellow practitioners and co-workers.
This is manifest in the proliferation of “influencer” channels such as executive membership networks, LinkedIn groups, bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, elite affinity groups, and professional communities across the Internet.
Content marketing growth and spend within the B2B sector is being driven by an upsurge in executive participation in the strategic procurement process. Enabling this is the ready availability of meaningful decision support content and online environments for virtual and physical executive interaction and on-demand information sourcing and sharing.
Statistics underscore how content delivery channels are multiplying. There are now:
Many professional organizations and associations have recognized they need to become “digital content factories” to inform, activate, engage and bring value their audiences. They also need to run at full capacity to keep pace with rapid changes in market conditions, customer sentiments, competitive threats, and technology advancements.
Content marketers have become adept at listening and responding to the “voice of the customer,” which requires a new form of intelligent market engagement and continuous interaction around customer issues, problems, pain points, risks, vulnerabilities, deficiencies, and challenges.
In this regard, solution and service providers see an increasing opportunity for direct market engagement—reaching, aggregating, and segmenting customer audiences while bypassing traditional media and analyst avenues. To do so, marketers are developing and outsourcing some of the same skill sets and resources of these more traditional media and analyst groups. They are forming their own shared interest communities and channels of insight, access, and influence.
The CMO Council: A Peer-Powered Network Personified
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council has played a formative leadership role in defining and aligning marketing leadership in the C-suite for the past 20 years. There are now over 150,000 executives with the title of “chief marketing officer” listed and profiled on LinkedIn. This has multiplied immeasurably over the last three years in both North America and the rest of world.
The CMO Council has become the world’s most influential network of marketing leaders dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, strategic thought leadership and inter-personal relationship building. Its membership community includes heads of marketing, digital, data, revenue, eCommerce and customer experience (CX), as well as brand decision-makers across a wide range of private and public sector markets.
The CMO Council's 16,000-plus members in 10,000 companies control nearly $1 trillion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing, sales and channel operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest groups include more than 65,000 global executives in more than 110 countries covering multiple industries, segments, and markets.
CMO Council Operations and Added Value
Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa. The council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Brand Inspiration Center, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Digital Marketing Performance Center, Content ROI Center, and the GeoBranding Center.
The CMO Council operates Elite Exchange Circles for leading brand members to join a private and intimate shared interest group to dialogue with peers around pressing leadership issues, problems, complexities, and challenges. Elite Exchange Circles are segmented based on size of company, market focus, and strategic topic area and limited to 12-15 participants. These forums enable in-depth strategic discussions and continuous conversation around modern marketing practices and technology advances.
Quarterly convocations bring together both B2B and B2C marketing leaders to advance experiential knowledge, digital dexterity, and C-suite alignment skills. Each circle is sponsored and structured to advance practical insights from an emerging generation of digital marketing change agents and savvy, customer-centric professionals across diverse brands, countries and categories.
These meetings and virtual roundtables provide rich peer-based advice on ways to create brand value, define routes to revenue, build lasting customer relationships, anticipate market shifts, pre-empt competitive threats, align marketing supply chain partners, as well as embrace new technologies and go-to-market practices.
CMO Council Advocacy – Defining the Title + the Territory
Chief marketing officers are being challenged to fortify their positions, expand authority, and assert ownership of critical leadership roles in their organizations. They are surrounded by title inflation and new sub-divisions in the C-Suite including “chiefs” of revenue, growth, digital, data, customer experience, relationships, insights, and innovation. Turf conflicts multiply and responsibilities are being sub-divided and diluted. In many organizations, marketing still struggles for legitimacy and credibility, leaving the definition of the CMO role in flux…and in question.
While the appointment of a CMO sends the right signal, the credentials, character and capability of this well-established C-level executive member are of critical importance to internal acceptance and permanency.
A true CMO must be the CEO-in-waiting.
Now is the time for the role of the CMO to rise…to be reshaped, redefined and redirected by those business and brand leaders ready to take this new step. The new realities and requirements for the true CMO – having both the title and territory -- must be clear and paramount in today’s increasingly complex, distributed and digitally driven marketing ecosystem. For more information visit www.cmocouncil.org.
Donovan Neale-May is the Founder and Executive Director of the CMO Council, the Growth Officer Council (www.growthguidancecenter.com), and the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network (www.bpinetwork.org), a global community of executive change agents driving business reinvention, IT transformation, and process improvement across the enterprise.
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