The CMO Transformation Agenda: A marketing roadmap to win in the digital age

Fredrik Lind, Raj Sandhu / February 2016

The current digital age brings a whole new game for CMOs. The exceedingly rapid change brought on by digital technologies is quickly transforming consumer and buying behavior, the marketing capabilities needed to succeed, and the very essence of the CMO role itself.

Evolving consumer behavior

It's not easy to ignore the massive change that digital technologies such as mobile and social media have brought about on consumer behavior and purchasing patterns. For example – mobile search has surpassed desktop search in ten markets (including the US), and there is a 20% year-on-year growth in global e-commerce.1 BCG research shows that even though plenty of companies have started investing in digital, CMOs still worry about whether they are spending enough on digital, or making decisions based on analytical data.

Insufficient digital capabilities

The essential role of the marketing organisation itself is evolving: marketing is no longer just about developing brand equity – it's about shaping the customer journey from start to finish. However, many organizations today are simply not equipped with the capabilities to succeed in this new digital world. BCG's 2015 research on a 100-point Digital Capabilities Index2 (100 being best practice) found that the average digital score for all marketers was only 57.

Organizational and cultural issues are further sources of concern. In a separate BCG study, 30% of CMOs mentioned a key pain point to be the communication problems brought about by functional silos. Additionally, 35% mentioned a lack of dedicated, qualified analysts/ data experts to be a major pain point.3.

Blurring lines with technology

There used to be a clear divide between the roles of the CMO and CTO/CIO. Not anymore. Digital activities such as product experience, customer journey analysis, and analytics fall somewhere in between. Many organizations are simply not setup to deal with the new organizational realities brought upon by digital.

In this new digital world, CMOs essentially have two choices:

  1. Make digital a competitive advantage, or
  2. Make digital a competitive disadvantage

Sticking to the status quo or even only taking tentative steps means choosing the second. Competition from traditional competitors and new attackers means that CMOs need to take a deliberate decision to undergo a digital transformation.

The biggest question of course is How? How can CMOs transform their organizations to make digital a major competitive advantage? And there are three major components to that question:

  • How do CMOs free up capital and demonstrate early success to "fund the journey"?
  • How can they "win in the medium term" with new digitally aligned business models?
  • How can they build the "right team, organization, and culture"?

To address these three major questions, BCG and Google came together to develop a roadmap for the transformation journey. The report attached below combines BCG's expertise in traditional & digital marketing and change management with Google's expertise in planning and executing effective digital campaigns.

Global State of Play: Programmatic Video Insights Report