Customers have changed the boardroom. Traditionally, the CMO, CFO and CIO worked in very separate siloes. Walls were erected to clearly mark their respective domains. But customers, empowered by social media and able to jump easily from brand to brand, tore down the walls and the three C-level execs began to acknowledge the need to work together. A good marketing leader can become great by connecting and collaborating with the finance and technology functions to gain a true understanding of how the business works. It can shape the way they work by ensuring they have the insight they need to deliver against business objectives.
But many organisations and many CMOs are still a long way from this level of collaboration. While becoming CEO may be a driving factor for some CMOs, they can’t get there alone.
There’s much to learn from CFOs, but few CMOs are taking advantage. Recently, as much as 90 per cent of marketing leaders admitted that they do not collaborate closely with their financial peers.
Involving the latter in the planning of marketing campaigns can help demonstrate value and ROI. Finance can help build clear campaign measurements and align marketing KPIs with broader stakeholder values – an important step for marketing leaders who want to support and drive the business.
Forging closer ties to technology specialists also offers a great opportunity to enhance influence at board level. Working with technology execs, CMOs can build better analytical capabilities within their organisation to produce actionable customer insights, which in return help the bottom line. Where collaboration between marketers and technology execs exists, the business is more likely to outperform businesses without C-level collaboration in terms of revenues and profitability.
It is crucial for CMOs to avoid becoming pigeonholed as specialists. They need to be seen as senior business strategists who are just as able to deliver against business objectives first and as marketing specialists second. CMOs following this principle will be able to proactively articulate what’s happening in the marketing function and how this is supporting the wider business. Sixty three per cent of marketing leaders already provide the CEO with input on business strategy regularly and there’s no reason why the remaining third shouldn’t also be actively supporting the CEO.
Ask yourself, when was the last time you were called upon by your CEO? If your ambition is be transformative – to help shape and deliver the objectives for the business – then closer collaboration with the CIO and CFO could give you the breadth of knowledge and insight you will undoubtedly need to succeed.