Look Ahead 2013

How the Role of CMO Will Change in the Year Ahead

Make Room for Outsiders as the Chief Marketing Role Becomes Increasingly Important -- and Increasingly Complex

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Happy New Year. Now get cracking: We outline challenges for 2013 and offer up some predictions

Number 1

Solving the value equation

In the last several years, marketers have struggled with the best way to communicate value to consumers, and it's a challenge that will persist in 2013. Just what is the definition of value, and what does it mean to consumers? Fast-fashion from the likes of H&M, Zara and Forever 21 has defined the apparel landscape, but some predict shoppers' desire for disposable fashion is waning. Seth Farbman, CMO at Gap, recently told Ad Age consumers are hungry for well-priced quality basics. JC Penney and McDonald's continue to focus on price as a way to convey value. This holiday season, JC Penney prominently featured prices in its TV ads, an approach that was widespread in the depths of the recession but has been less popular lately. The Golden Arches credited promotion of value items, in part, for a surprise 2.5% sales increase in the U.S. in November. But Procter & Gamble's Tide Pods have succeeded by redefining value to mean efficiency more than price -- they're the most-expensive product in laundry.

Turf wars

Thanks to the rise of digital and social-media channels, and data and content marketing, there are lots of areas that could fall under the purview of the chief marketing officer. But those could also become the responsibility of -- or lead to the creation of roles like -- chief customer officer or chief content officer. Taking control of those areas, at least in part, will ensure the CMO has the CEO's ear in the coming years. Ceding control could relegate CMOs to the role of chief advertising officer.