The changing role of the CMO
This September, the WFA partnered with the AllThatMatters conference to develop and curate a new conference stream titled MarketingMatters.
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Especially tailored for brands, the half-day session looked to continue WFA CMOFORUM conversations around ‘The Future of Marketing’ to see how brands are addressing fast-moving shifts in consumer behaviour, connections and connectivity, as well as communications and content.
WFA members took centre stage throughout the afternoon as Intel kicked off the afternoon with a keynote from Asia Pacific CMO Jayant Murthy who looked at Redefining Humanity in a Digital Age.
The session was followed by a panel discussion on The Future of Marketing featuring Sameer Desai, WFA’s VP for Asia and Mundipharma’s Head of Consumer Health - Asia, MEA and LATAM, as well as WFA members Sheelpa Patel from the Infiniti Motor Company and Judah Ruiz, Regional Brand Development Director, Beverages, Unilever.
Traci Alford, Global Head of Brand Strategy – Retail, Shell then offered her perspective on how brands have moved from Audiences to Algorithms, while Mark Harland, Director of Marketing & Customer Experience, General Motors International, held the room captive with a presentation on how GM are harnessing tech ‘horsepower’ to fuel transformation and marketing innovation to improve the experience for consumers and their cars.
Rahul Asthana, Regional Marketing Director at Kimberly-Clark, closed the day on a CMO panel moderated by WFA Marketing Director for Asia, Ranji David, that looked at The Changing Role of the CMO and the importance of culture, coaching, curiosity and CIOs.
Here are four take-outs from the session.
- CMOs have now become ‘Culture Marketing Officers’ – While the role of the CMO has always been about brand guardianship, our CMO panel agreed that it’s becoming just as important to develop and defend the employer brand. “As transformation takes shape across the business it’s really about making sure we have the right people in our teams. To do this, we have to first make sure we have a culture that attracts and retains the talent we need.”
- Reverse mentorship is still hugely relevant – It’s as much about coaching millennials as about being coached by millennials. While much has been said about coaching millennials as opposed to taking a more ‘traditional’ approach towards management, our panel noted the importance and advantage of learning from and with millennial talent on the team. “One of our local market leaders always has a digital native assigned to help him navigate the latest new platform, app or communications tool, and has found it tremendously beneficial in keeping up with what’s new and next.”
- The most important attribute for a CMO today? Curiosity. An attitude of inquisitiveness can go a long way towards making the unknown so much more accessible. “There’s so much change going on right now and it’s understandable how it can all be a little overwhelming. But it’s also very exciting and it’s important for us as CMOs to remain interested.”
- Get in bed with tech – The most important relationship for a CMO today is with the CIO. It’s almost too obvious to say that the modern CMO needs to be comfortable with technology, but it’s now not just about what you know but who you know, too. With technology underpinning so much of the transformation taking place across businesses, close collaborations between CMOs and CIOs are absolutely critical to success. “My ‘work spouse’ is the CIO. We engage as co-leaders on the various marketing-tech initiatives currently in play across the organisation, and that sets the tone for our teams too. We’re all on the same page and we need each other to succeed, so why not just get along?”
For more information about WFA’s initiatives in Asia contact Ranji at firstname.lastname@example.org.