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Lead Your Team Strategy

What Small Businesses Can Learn from Today's CMOs

What Small Businesses Can Learn from Today's CMOs
Credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

There's no question that marketing has changed immensely in recent years. The guiding principles that today's brands follow in crafting and disseminating their messages would be foreign to the marketers of even a decade ago. 

Anne Olderog, partner at brand consulting firm Vivaldi Partners Group, believes that changes in both technology and consumer behavior have brought about this dramatic shift in marketing practices and, consequently, the role of a company's chief marketing officer (CMO).

"The consumer has changed quickly, but so has technology," said Olderog, who co-authored Vivaldi's recent report, "The Changing Role of the CMO." "A huge proliferation of channels and touch points has opened new possibilities for marketing, and new ways to talk to and engage customers. CMOs have taken charge of brands and marketing, [knowing that] the greatest brands are created and propagated by consumers."

The report, which was created based on insights from CMOs of major companies across a variety of industries, found that there were five major areas in which the role of the CMO has changed: [Creative Ways to Market Your Small Business]

Strategy – The notion of strategy is changing, Olderog said. Today, strategy is done in real time. Ideas are tested quickly, and customers are encouraged to participate in the process and influence the direction of a company. In this context, the CMO becomes not just a marketer, but someone who works alongside the CEO.

Customer – Related to the changes in strategic planning is a change in the way marketers connect with customers. The CMO has become the voice of the customer within his or her company, and must now focus on social listening to be able to learn and relay what customers are saying.

Operations – The traditional pyramid hierarchy is gone when it comes to the CMO's role. He or she needs to be very involved in the trenches, working alongside marketers to make tactical decisions in real time.

Organization – Marketing is an increasingly collaborative discipline; it's impossible for one person to have all the skills that today's marketers need, said Olderog. The CMO now has to aggregate capabilities across all departments, especially IT, to ensure that everyone involved in a company's marketing operations has access to the data and analytics they need.

Technology – The evolution of technology has given marketers the ability to go beyond general demographic segments and connect with individual customers. Olderog noted that CMOs must help their brands become relevant in consumers' daily lives through technology that enables personalized approaches.

"Two-way conversations with consumers [allow them to] own and participate in the brand," she told Business News Daily. "Without that relationship, there is no loyalty."

So, what can smaller companies learn from the changing day-to-day jobs of corporate CMOs? The most important takeaway for small businesses is that they must learn to adapt to the new marketing environment.

Because smaller companies are generally much closer to their customers than larger corporations are, they have the opportunity to gather, use and analyze data, to learn more about their customers and connect with them, said Olderog. She advised taking advantage of all the marketing tools available to you to help your company innovate and grow more quickly.

"The pace of technological innovation is such that it really changes markets," Olderog said. "Consumers are taking ownership [of brands] and mak[ing] them part of their daily lives. It's a huge opportunity for businesses, and the companies that succeed are the innovators who harness change."

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.