We asked the questions and over 270 CMOs from the most important companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland answered – anonymously, of course – with sometimes unpredictable results. In short, for me four main insights emerged from their answers:
1.) Everyone is talking about digitalisation and of course CMOs are too. Never before has dealing with this issue become so urgent. In itself it’s not a new topic, you might say, and you’d be right. But Covid-19 has fast-forwarded digital developments at increasingly high speed. The exciting thing is that many CMOs see the pandemic as a positive accelerator of a long overdue transformation in their company.
2.) For CMOs, being in close contact with people is key in times of crisis. This applies to their own employees, who need good leadership in times of remote working and lots of different stress factors. And it affects customers, whose needs have changed very quickly. It means listening, recognising change quickly and reacting flexibly. I personally hope that we will continue to do this once the pandemic is over.
3.) In times of economic crisis, is sustainability still important for consumers and thus for companies too? Or will it become a luxury that you can think about again in less complicated times? The CMOs respond very clearly to this question, echoed by consumer studies that confirm this: Sustainability communication and brand purpose remain core issues that do not become less important even in difficult economic times.
4.) Agility is the most urgent current issue in successful marketing. In times when trends and developments such as digitalization have accelerated so rapidly, reacting to changes in an agile way is becoming a decisive success factor for CMOs. And related to this, the CMO is becoming the driver of their own company’s transformation agenda.
What surprised me most about the results of our CMO survey was how much importance CMOs give to the human factor even – or perhaps more so – in the era of digitalization, tech and data. Priorities have shifted significantly in this direction. Establishing close contact with people is becoming a criterion of success, both internally and externally. And that’s not a bad thing, in my opinion. I’m excited to find out what will happen in our next round of surveys.
Details on the CMO Council: https://sp-url.com/bt4-cmo-council-en.
Author: Yvonne Wicht, Deputy Chairwomen CMO Council Serviceplan Group