CMOs Love Direct Digital Marketing

Josh GordonThe life of a company Chief Marketing Officer is not an easy one. Three years ago the duration of a professional in the CMO position was estimated at 22 months. In a world of ever-evolving technology and new channels to promote customer engagement through, this figure has not budged much. The life of a CMO is short, and the road to success is peppered with sky-high expectations from other members of upper management and the board. Success is foggy and treacherous in today's business landscape. However, an unlikely evolution is occurring within the CMO world. While the economy has complicated matters, some are speculating that instead of perpetuating rapid turnover, some companies are beginning to change expectations and the pedigree of those in the CMO position.

In short, “Direct” is in. DM News writer Nathan Golia penned an interesting piece earlier this month detailing how the expertise required to succeed in the CMO position is changing from awareness and brand expectations that were the cornerstone of marketing for decades to a more direct and accountable approach.

Golia points to three recent CMO hires as primary examples. Rodale, Tropicana Entertainment, and AMC – all hired in the last four months – place the most emphasis on direct marketing and database marketing in a candidate’s work history. That is not to say that branding and awareness are no longer important in the role of a CMO, it just upends historical emphasis on immeasurable aspects of marketing.

Golia’s article also quotes CMO Council Executive Director Donovan Neale-May, who notes, “a huge move toward database-targeted, behaviorally driven, analytically based digital campaigns.”

CMOs are already tasked with the responsibility of showing real, bottom-line ROI for marketing efforts. Historically organizations placed emphasis on successful awareness and branding elements, but demanded similar accountability. However, those efforts simply do not reveal the quantifiable proof of success that direct digital marketing delivers so effortlessly.

This seemingly mundane bit of back page hiring news is easy to skip over, but Golia uncovered a growing trend that forecasts the pending shift at the top of the marketing world – direct is in, and a digital foundation makes marketing more accountable and more effective.

It is a refreshing nugget to discover, given The Lunch Pail’s focus on all things direct digital marketing. The changing climate of the CMO hiring process helps reinforce the value of a direct digital marketing approach. The focus of marketing efforts should first be on the data, then on the various channels through which communications are sent and measured.

Now that CMOs are able to better identify ROI opportunities and create stories around them – and now have both the expertise and the time to show their success to the various stakeholders – the next problem that needs solved is the battle between connections and integration.

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