For those who don't know I have written for the Forbes CMO Network for the past 7+ years and in that time I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of CMOs and marketing leaders from all walks of life - B2C and B2B alike. And while hot topics have come and gone over the years, this may be the most important thing a CMO can do right now and in the foreseeable future: Foster and encourage ingenuity and innovation.
Face it our world is changing at warp speed and while many of us only think of things like technology and mobile and IoT and things like that when it comes to how fast we're changing - the fact is everything is changing. And as such marketing leaders the world over - be they B2C or B2B, big brand or small - they need to create and foster an environment where ingenuity and innovation matter most.
"More Important Than Ever"
That's how Julie Lyle, Chairman of the Board for the Global Retail Marketing Association and former CMO of hhgregg, Prudential Corporation Asia and Walmart described this very subject. She says she has found in her career that most successful people have an insatiable curiosity for nearly everything around them, as well as courage and influencing skills to challenge the status quo. Ingenious people are always watching, listening, wondering.
Randall Rozin, Global Director, Brand Management and Digital Marketing at Dow Corning says ingenuity in business is vital, but only as much as it is backed up by persistent action, relevance to customers, and ongoing revitalization.
There are of course many, many things a CMO and marketing leader needs to focus on but the one constant in today's "24/7 always wired world” as Lyle puts it is change and for one to adapt one must change and one must never stop being clever, original or inventive.
The following two charts via eMarketer illustrate the inherent need and recognition among marketing leaders when it comes to ingenuity and innovation.
The one on the left shows that 84% of of survey respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that their organization is looking for the next single market-shifting innovation vs. pursuing a portfolio of opportunities.
And the chart on the right reflects that 59% of US and Western Europe-based B2B marketers feel that innovation is the second most important priority after building market share. One could make the case that in order to build market share you need to be innovating new products and services at the same time.
The urgency to transform marketing has never been higher. Pressure to deliver business results is mounting. Fostering ingenuity and innovation is a very important trait a CMO needs to have.
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