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CMOs Need To Get Disruptive and Defensive

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

For years we've heard about the need to be disruptive; the need to be different but with a purpose. In other words not disruptive for the sake of disruption but have an actual plan behind said disruption, as it were. 

Based on research from Accenture the type of disruption at play is disruptive growth. And, according to the research "CEOs have given the entire C-suite some responsibility for disruptive growth" with the CMO getting the most attention, if you will and not the kind of attention you want per se. 

I say not the kind of attention you want for this puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the CMO to lead the disruptive growth of their brand. In fact the same research revealed that among all those in the c-suite, CEOs will hold the CMO the most accountable with over a third of CEOs stating the CMO will be the first to go if growth targets are not met.

Well Positioned CMOs

Kevin Quiring, Managing Director, Advanced Customer Strategy, North America Lead, Accenture Strategy believes there has never been a better time for CMOs to reposition themselves by taking control of the disruptive growth agenda. "Such initiatives are often the most creative, have the biggest revenue potential and command strong leadership,” he said. “CMOs are well positioned to do so due to their experience of being brand guardians, which will help enable them to intuitively navigate new opportunities internally and externally, and identify new areas of growth.”

Accenture highlights five ways CMOs can move into a disruptive growth role:

  1. Opening the door: The executive that can best articulate a disruptive growth strategy will be the defacto ‘Chief Growth Officer’. As many companies look to create this position, CMOs should be the one to step forward to create the platforms that will catapult their company forward into new business opportunities.
  2. Making priorities disruptive: While traditional marketing activities continue to be important, more focus can be afforded to driving disruptive growth initiatives that present higher revenue growth potential. Initiatives include launching new business models, developing new partnerships, and increasing revenues from data monetization.  
  3. Accepting clear responsibility for disruptive growth: Establish the ‘Office of Disruptive Growth’. Marketing then becomes the epicenter of disruptive growth that moves their organization to own a greater share of each customer, as well as fostering new customers.
  4. Paying attention to the evolving competitor landscape: Who your competitors were yesterday are not who they are today. Only 43% of CMOs believe defending their organization against new competitors that have not traditionally been part of their industry is a priority to their organization today. Organizations can avoid being disrupted, but only if they can see what’s coming.
  5. Becoming a new market entrant: Only 30% of CMOs say their organization is moving into a different industry outside their traditional industry. Organizations that want to get ahead need to diversify their offerings and appeal to new audiences. CMOs have the opportunity to guide that process and identify the best fit.

On the Defensive

Point #4 above speaks directly to another finding from the research which speaks to the need for CMOs to go on the defensive. 

As you can see from this eMarketer chart, which is based on the research, a mere 43% of CMOs believe defending their organization against new competitors that have not traditionally been part of their industry is a priority to their organization today.  

What's even more puzzling is the 54% of CMOs who responded "to some extent" when it came to making this a priority. 

So in total 97% of CMOs are not exactly placing a high priority on defending their organization against new competitors that have not traditionally been part of their industry.

Why would not all 100% of CMOs surveyed say that this is a major priority for them?

Well part of the season may lie in the fact that a great number of these same CMOs don't consider themselves to be innovative. 

So if they don't they're innovative or cutting edge within their own industry against known competitors - unlike  new competitors that have not traditionally been part of their industry - how can they worry about defending their turf against newcomers?


Own the Entire Experience 

The fact of the matter is the CMO needs to own the entire customer experience. They need to be the disruptor, they need to defend their turf at all costs. 

Download Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience? to learn how you as a CMO can and should lead the experience, the pitfalls along the way and much more. 

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