Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Latest CEO Study Gives Birth to the Chief Marketing Technologist

Over the last 6 months or so, I have been introspecting and discussing the evolving role of the CMO in the context of the IBM CMO Study with Desi CMOs and B2C and B2B marketing professionals from all over the country. Many of these conversations inspired me to blog,  tweet and comment on discussions around marketing ROI, social business in general and advocacy in particular, analytics, and the emerging partnership between marketing and IT which will give way to a new and improved role in the boardroom: the Chief Marketing Technologist. And the dialog is just getting started.

Today, IBM unveiled its latest Global CxO Study, this time with 1700+ CEOs. This is the 5th time the Institute of Business Value has conducted the Global CEO study and by now it has covered a whopping 5,000 CEO interviews stretching back to 2004.  In India/South Asia alone, 66 CEOs were interviewed for this year's study. 

Many of us speculated how much change we would see in CEO's attitudes, goals, priorities compared to previous years. The study findings will infuse some fresh and provocative thoughts in the CMO dialog because, for the first time, there are direct implications for the marketing and communications functions thanks to social media phenomenon that has CEOs on edge (more on this in future posts).

But I wanted to start by sharing one of the biggest surprises from the study. "Market factors" which had been #1 force impacting organizations had bumped to #3. And guess what made it to the top of the list as the #1 external factor impacting organizations for the first time ever? TECHNOLOGY!  Indeed, technology has come a long way since 2004, when it wasn't even in the top 5 for CEOs. Us technocrats a walking around just a little taller today :-)

But on a serious note, it means that every member of the C Suite needs to wake up to what technology can do for their function. For no better reason than because the boss will probably ask. If you are a CMO, chew on this question: 

When I think of technology, and its impact on my role as a CMO:

a) Technology is going to change the way my function completely and I need to evolve my role from CMO to become a Chief Marketing Technologist and lead from the front
b) I trust my agency to scan what technology solutions are available and use them to drive better results
c) I am covered because I have the IT guy's number on speed dial
d) I am a creative type, not a techie type - marketing is about ideas, not technology

If your answer is a, I would love to interview you for my next blogpost! Also follow @smarterleaders and #CEOConnect on Twitter for more on the study.

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