Insights from IBM’s Global CMO Marketing Study

IBM released a new marketing study titled “From Stretched to Strengthened” based on interviews with more than 1,700 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) from around the world.

The study is available from the IBM CMO Study website which also includes links to other resources including two webinars that discuss the results of the study and an Executive Summary.  One of the webinars will be held on Friday, October 14th at 9am Eastern and will be hosted by both Harvard Business Review and IBM.  In addition, IBM has created a sub-group on LinkedIn to discuss the study in more depth.

One of the first graphics in the Study shows that CMOs are underprepared to manage the impact of key changes in the marketing arena.

Based on the areas where CMOs are underprepared below, it would appear that CMOs have not kept up with changes in the marketing environment.  Many of these changes occurred during the last 3 to 5 years when most CMOs had already moved away from day-to-day operations into management of the marketing function.  But many of these changes have been driven from the ‘bottom’ which means that these CMOs do not have hands-on experience with most of the these functions – especially the top 4 of data explosion, social media, growth of channel and device choices and shifting consumer demographics.

The 3 strategic insights from the study are that CMO’s need to help their organizations:

  • Deliver value to empowered customers
  • Foster lasting connections
  • Capture value and measure results

Delivering value to empowered customers means finding out who the customers are, what they want and how they want to interact with the organization.  Customers have so many interaction choices and not all of them can be treated in the aggregate as marketers have done in the past.

Foster lasting connections is all about enhancing customer loyalty and encouraging satisfied customers to ‘share’ the marketing effort by becoming active advocates for the brand, product or company.  The companies that figure this out first will have a huge advantage as disaffected customers have many options today and are very quick to publicly share both positive and negative opinions to their socially networked connections.

Capturing value and measuring results should be at the top of all CMOs lists.  In the past, marketing professionals have gotten a bit lazy when it comes to quantifying the return or ROI of their marketing investments.  In the new marketing order, they will have to apply financial discipline to all of their programs.

The Executive Summary also offered some targeted actions to address them:

Summary From IBM CMO Study - Executive Summary

The full CMO study is available below or you can check out the website.

There are also a number of videos about the Study posted by IBM on YouTube, including this one:


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