Is the CMO the new CTO?

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CMO is not short for Chief Marketing Officer anymore, but for Chief Consumer Officer. The four speakers discussing the future of marketing on the panel today all share this belief: Up to date marketing is not about planning budgets and campaigns month in advance anymore. It is about engaging with the costumer round the clock on all the channels the digital age offers.

Eric Hippeau, Managing Director at Lerer Hippeau Venture, starts out the discussion by outlining some problems marketing chiefs face today: First of all the tsunami of information and data coming towards them. Secondly the countless and ever evolving ways of engaging with the consumer. And finally the fact, that most marketers still do not have an IT-background which would help them to understand how to connect and make effective use of the first two: „Most Marketers still operate like in the 1970s. They are not there yet“, Hippeau says. His recommendation to his colleagues: Understand the different influences on your brand, don’t be afraid to use the analytic tools available – “Those long went from a nice to have, to a need to have” – and embrace the velocity of this new age.

Lynn Vojvodich, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Salesforce, is convinced that „campaigns today have moved to journeys“. As a marketing expert you have to be able to overview every single connection the consumer makes with the brand. Be it with the service hotline, with the companies Twitter account or in a store. Reconstructing this journey gives you priceless information on what your consumer likes and what he does not like. Vojvodich observes that more and more CMOs today, like herself, have an engineering background and understand IT. In addition, she forecasts that this skill set will become more and more important in the future – as the title of the discussion suggests: The CMO is the new CTO.

This will also be reflected in the responsibilities CMOs take on in the company, her co-speaker Michael Mendenhall, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Flextronics, believes. His prediction is that the communications and marketing branch will soon become as important and as influential in a company as for example the financial department.

Traditionally marketing people do not have seat on the company board. Mendenhall is convinced that this about to change. Wes Nichols, Co-Founder and CEO of MarketShare, agrees. Accordingly he calls upon marketing chiefs to step up and demand more responsibility in their companies: „Be curious and get involved in the boards“, he encourages them. Vojvodich adds to this showing understanding for marketers who feel overwhelmed by the digital revolution: „Believe me every CMO feels behind, but you need to get on it. It is the best time to be a CMO right now and you just have to get started“.

Mentioned in this article

Eric bio pic
Eric Hippeau
Lerer Hippeau Ventures
Managing Director
Lerer Hippeau Ventures
New York
Nichols wes quadrat
Wes Nichols
Upfront Ventures
Board Partner
Upfront Ventures
Pacific Palisades
Lynn vojvodich  bw
Lynn Vojvodich
San Francisco