January 8, 2013 – Chief marketing officers are entering unknown territory with demands on their customer data and the makeup of their departments in 2013, according to a new market review by IDC.

On Tuesday, a pair of analysts laid out their expectations for enterprise marketing in a presentation entitled “2013 Chief Marketing Officer Predictions: Today’s CMO Becomes Master of Data.”

Rich Vancil, group VP of IDC's Executive Advisory Strategies division, said that during his decade at IDC and 30 years involved in enterprise marketing, “without exaggeration, I’ve seen more change in the CMO suite in the last year than perhaps the last 30 years combined.” Vancil expects more “rapid change” in the year ahead, particularly in the organizational dynamics surrounding the roles of marketing officers and departments.

For one, more C-suite leaders, regardless of industry, want a data-driven strategy for customers who are more self-educated than ever before, mostly due to online channels and social media chatter. This will push CMOs and CIOs together into a working relationship Vancil described as “frenemies” at best. But without involvement from CIOs and investment by IT, marketing automation or CRM efforts can become an “island of use” in the marketing department, which impairs “cross-functional impact” of customer data, Vancil says.

With data comes expectations of capabilities to make business sense out of 1s and 0s, says Kathleen Schaub, a research VP at IDC and part of the CMO advisory team on the call Tuesday. In 2013, IDC anticipates that half of new marketing hires will come with a technical background. Over the last few years, CMOs have done some training, but also a lot of pulling in people from other disciplines like IT and project management. Having to pull in outside technical people has exposed the skills gap with traditional marketing pros when it comes to data, which she says is “becoming core to all aspects of marketing.”

“This is a problem overall because, let’s face it, a lot of marketers went into this profession because they didn’t like math. And back when marketing was more of a ‘dark art’ they might not have need it as much,” Schaub says. “As a result, there is an extremely short supply of people who can understand IT ... data management, social science and analytics, and can comprehend the ins-and-outs of marketing.”

Tying all of these CMO organizational challenges with data in 2012 and looking ahead exposes the marketing department to a coming wave of “dynamic” budgeting and personnel decisions: a.k.a. job replacements and cuts, and shifts in finances. Even with data-based plans in place, Vancil says 2013 could play out with express changes in the faces and functions of enterprise marketing. 

In total, the 10 top expectations of CMOs in 2013 consist of:

  1. The C-suite will demand the CMO produce a strategy and plan for market-driven data that will significantly contribute to corporate objectives.
  2. The CIO and CMO will need to work together more, sometimes with regressive results.
  3. Up to 10 percent of marketing discretionary budgets could consist of automation spending.
  4. In the face of new or failing analytics programs, CMOs may find their positions in jeopardy.
  5. Half of new marketing hires will have a technical background.
  6. Social media growth is happening outside of the marketing department for 80 percent of enterprises.
  7. A small but advanced group – 5 percent – will shift to a “mobile first” strategy.
  8. CMO focus will be more about access to audience needs than big platform projects.
  9. An undercurrent of infrastructure disruption will exist as older CRM systems are upgraded and replaced.
  10. Pipeline conversion metrics will continue marked improvements.

In short, offering some suggestions for CMOs to “master” their data, IDC recommended that marketing officers align their goals with the CEO, CFO and SVP of Sales, as well as make friends with the IT department. Internally, the marketing department must look to invest in data skills and should opt for tech and services for automation, governance and customer analytics.

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