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How can you lead your marketing team into the future?

CEOs and CMOs agree that the marketing function will change fundamentally over the next three years, but what will set successful marketing organisations apart from the rest, as they navigate great change?

Those companies with pioneering marketing leaders – just 17% of the nearly 1000 CMOs interviewed in our new research – stand to thrive more than most. They are already delivering highly relevant customer experiences and on average 11% greater shareholder return.

This cohort of pioneering CMOs take clear ownership of their role as drivers of growth. Sarah Warby, Chief Growth Officer at HyperHar Ltd, previously Marketing Director at Sainsburys and Heineken articulates the job succinctly:

“The core of the marketing agenda is truly understanding what customers want and how to make money from that demand. What business doesn’t need that?” 

These marketing leaders recognise, more than most, the importance of helping their organisation respond quickly to changing customer needs. They place a greater emphasis than their peers on developing the culture and capabilities of the marketing function:

“The ‘how’ often precedes the ‘what’. You might think the ‘what’ comes first, but you never get that unless you get the ‘how’ sorted” Mark Evans, Marketing Director at Direct Line Group

These leaders transform the way marketing is done across three key areas, and below we share insights from marketers who contributed to our research.

Reinventing for the now and the new – taking the reins of disruptive growth

Delivering this depends on getting the right balance between the demands of now versus the new. Or as Sarah Warby describes it, “The main challenge of a busy business, especially a big one, is how you keep today's wheels on, and work out what tomorrow's needs to look like”.

Shelley Macintyre, Global and UK Marketing Director at Sipsmith talks about the people dimension of this challenge:

“There’s a short-term and long-term balancing act to contend with and that affects everything from who you employ, how you stretch your team, what roles they are doing, how you coach/mentor/manage your team to evolve with the pace of industry but also get important products to market in a timely way” Shelley Macintyre, Sipsmith

Rejecting a broken marketing culture – challenging conventional wisdom and status quo

A crucial aspect of this is guiding the organisation to be more customer centred. This includes a greater role for marketing in owning the customer record and delivering relevant experiences for the customer, throughout their journey.  That inevitably has consequences for the capabilities of the marketing team. Alicia Enciso, Chief Marketing Officer describes what this looks like at Nestle:

“We are evolving our capabilities and ways of working to become much more powerful in activating the full consumer experience journey, transforming from mass marketing to a hybrid mass customisation. The capabilities we are building are quite different from four or five years ago in areas such as digital, ecommerce, media and innovation because of the consumer and retail disruption”.

Rewiring operating models for growth – unlocking value by driving collaboration

Pioneering CMOs are driving forward a more connected operating model, and this extends not just to internal relationships but to external partner relationships, and beyond traditional agency partners. They are cultivating the culture of collaboration among their teams to foster relationships with the customer at the heart.

“Now we’re using more agencies with different capabilities and different size and scale. So I think that the critical challenge is to connect the dots” Mark Evans, Marketing Director at Direct Line Group.

To learn more about how pioneering CMOs are delivering growth in practice download the report now. For a personalised discussion of the findings and implications for your company please get in touch


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