March 24, 2021
The alarming finding in our latest report landed with a thud: 86% of senior marketers believe lack of leadership depth and capabilities has resulted in missed revenue, growth and customer acquisition opportunities. It’s a resounding indictment.
Truth is, a marketing leader today faces a daunting task with so much at stake. The complexity, difficulty and great expectations of digital marketing are simply too much for any single person to comprehend and effectuate.
Case-in-point: There are 8,000 MarTech solutions on the marketing landscape today with the vast majority arriving on the scene only in the last three years.
Digital marketing cries out for domain knowledge and specialized skills — that is, someone who can parachute in, solve a problem and move on. Yet marketing leaders with these special skills are hard to find.
Another big stat in our study: 43% of CMOs admit it is “very difficult, time consuming and always challenging” to find experienced, proficient and knowledgeable functional leaders and direct reports.
Here are the top seven marketing leadership gaps:
1. Customer journey, acquisition and conversion
2. Segmentation and personalized messaging at scale
3. Actioning on customer data insight
4. Demand generation and pipeline
5. Campaign execution and measurement
6. Marketing planning to support digital growth strategies
7. Operational adaptability and agility
It can take six months or longer to fill one of these critical roles. That’s just too long in a digital marketing reality that rewards speed and agility and punishes laggards. Modern marketers live in a Wild West where opportunities abound with only two outcomes: the quick and the dead.
Companies looking to fill gaps in their marketing leadership roster might want to consider contracting free agents. Like hired guns, they can come on board quickly — queue up the theme song from “High Plains Drifter” — and solve immediate problems. The CMO Council predicts the use of fractional CMOs in global companies will grow this year.
There’s much work to be done, too. Marketers are at a precarious moment as their companies emerge from last year’s soul-crushing pandemic. Faced with an acceleration to digital, new customer buying behaviors and aggressive revenue growth goals, the majority of marketers are planning to increase marketing spend and grow their MarTech investments.
Incoming MarTech absolutely must pay off, particularly in areas of leveraging customer data and analytics, optimizing the customer journey, segmenting and personalizing messaging at scale, and aligning more effectively with the lines of business. (For more on this, check out our blog post, MarTech Hangs in the Balance.)
But chances are the company doesn’t have the right skills, management depth and domain expertise to handle all of this. Fractional CMOs can increase the odds of success, particularly in go-to-market execution and operations, content and demand generation, digital interactive marketing, strategic planning and positioning, and sales intelligence and CRM.
Moreover, companies will be able to recruit fractional CMOs from anywhere in the world, thanks to remote work having become the new normal. A global pool of high-level talent not only raises the quality of leadership, it speeds up recruitment time.
In fact, our study found that the top benefit of contractual, on-demand marketing leaders is fast ramp-up and time to performance. Other benefits include: proven performers and doers, range of competencies and capabilities, domain expertise or knowledge, added value thinking and leadership depth.
It’s time to build out your marketing leadership bench and fill the gaps.
Tom Kaneshige is the Chief Content Officer at the CMO Council. He creates all forms of digital thought leadership content that helps growth and revenue officers, line of business leaders, and chief marketers succeed in their rapidly evolving roles. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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