Today we are seeing a time of unmatched opportunity for marketers — a “moment of truth” from which we can emerge as brilliant innovators empowering our companies to succeed.

The consumer marketplace has been disrupted, and people’s expectations have changed radically. Companies are turning more and more to data as a source of wisdom and foresight, and marketers are becoming the masters of the information that drives brand direction — representing the consumer voice through a unique combination of insights and experience.

But are marketers getting the data and tools they need to meet these challenges head-on and rise to growing expectations? Isolating relevant signals from the data noise and closing the insight-to-action gap requires vision and collaboration across organizations — as well as high-velocity information that is essential to decision making and yet also sadly rare. Less than one in four of the top-performing marketers in our GfK/CMOC study have the real-time data access they need — and those are the success stories! Marketers need to become change-makers within their companies, encouraging a data-driven culture that can thrive in a time of rapid-fire decisions and consumer changeability. As Ambassadors of Data-Centricity, they need to model a commitment to proactive dashboard curation — helping to shape and refine the insights on hand and seek out whatever is missing.

The CMO also needs to take on the mantle of a purpose-driven evangelist — using data to help meet the desires of consumers who insist that their brands need to be as human as they are. In today’s world, sustainability and equity are table-stakes for brands of every kind. By bringing the art of intuition and creativity to the science of data — at the speed of today’s decision-making — CMOs can and should become catalysts for healthier, more compassionate brands that deliver sustainable growth.

As company leaders and brand iconoclasts, marketers need to be bold. That boldness should be backed by highly relevant, top-quality insights – trusted data is essential — and a willingness to act with conviction on opportunities that may vanish in a second. CMOs can and must set an example of empowered leadership at a time when companies are finding their way in a new consumer world.

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