CMOs Will Own the CEO Seat, Customer Experience

New Salesforce, Deloitte Study Helps Paint Future for Marketers

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Lynn Vojvodich
Lynn Vojvodich

Chief marketing officers at global companies may ultimately find themselves in the CEO seat as they are increasingly playing a key role in impacting the company's bottom line.

Findings from a recent study produced in conjunction with Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and Deloitte Research show that today's CMOs have a direct stake in the customer experience and revenue growth. Specifically, the report, entitled "Bridging the Digital Divide: How CMOs Can Rise to Meet Five Expanding Expectations," said the top three external marketing priorities of the CMO were customer acquisition, personal experiences and customer engagement.

"The old CMO would say half of my marketing spend is effective, but I don't know which half. That idea is gone because we are turning from cost centers to revenue centers," said Salesforce CMO Lynn Vojvodich. "We have also found that half of CMOs today feel responsible for revenue growth. When a customer comes through a device or store, they want one consistent brand experience with you. As marketers, we need to be stewards of customer journey and the new CMO is about owning the customer experience."

Ms. Vojvodich, addressing a crowd of marketers and agencies at the AdAge Digital Conference, noted that 25% of the CMOs surveyed in the report had an increased role in customer service. The report also showed the top three internal marketing priorities of surveyed CMOs include data acquisition, testing and optimization, and flexible and agile marketing processes.

Overall, the top five expanding expectations of CMOs were taking on topline growth; owning the customer experience; digging into data-based insights; operating in real time; and mastering the metrics that matter.

During her speech, Ms. Vojvodich not only promoted the survey's top findings but shared her own journey as a marketer. She noted that increasingly CMOs -- including herself -- are coming into the role from a variety of backgrounds.

Ms. Vojvodich began her professional career as an engineer before entering business school, running a startup and working with CIOs and CMOs to transform their businesses.

"All of our journeys are different. What we see are diverse skill sets coming together, and we are thinking about transformation," said Ms. Vojvodich. "More CMOs will become CEOs. As we take on and own more of the customer experience, there will be more CMOs in the CEO role."

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