In less than a decade, the function of marketing and the role of the CMO – Chief Marketing Officer – have been utterly transformed. It is a now a data-driven science; dealing with savvy customers who have been radically empowered. The CMO is at the center of this renaissance and over half of CEOs say the CMO is qualified to succeed them. All of this has come about due to cloud. And we are just at the 1% threshold!

Prior to this shift simplistic depictions of marketing – like the characters in “Mad Men” – filled our thoughts. Why? Because marketing mostly used to be an art and it was tough to quantitatively prove its value. There was creativity in product design, advertising and branding but there was actually very little quantitative discipline.

Sure, we sampled and ran focus groups. But, the quantitative was limited and expensive, so we made best guesstimates. Let’s face it. We all know products, campaigns, and services that were not launched, but escaped. Interactions with customers were episodic, often one-way with us doing the talking, and the learning was not always reliable.

Then a new class of MarTech (Marketing Technology) solutions began to emerge. These were easily accessible by marketing people, often without IT’s support, because they were cloud based. Using the new tools the CMO has become a major part of the sales cycle, directly accountable for revenue growth, the customer experience and leads the charge in the digitization of business.

Now marketing is a science and data driven. We don’t sample. We examine all the data. We can measure the impact of every marketing decision. Interactions with customers are frequent and two-way. The customer is very knowledgeable about our competition and us. We shape the brand through a dizzying array of media, and then spend much to read what the customer really believes our brand to be.

In 2015, there are now 1,876 vendors (up from “just” 947 last year) offering to CMO’s and their staff a phenomenal array of tools to execute a variety of marketing functions – almost all are cloud based. CMO’s are slated to soon spend more on IT than CIOs.

This is just the beginning. The next ten years will see an order of magnitude growth in the use of the tools. An excellent study from Foundation Capital by Ashu Garg calls this next era: “The Decade of the CMO”. Imagine – your spending on MarTech will go from 1% of your marketing budget to 10% over the next ten years. Driven and managed by the CMO in your search for increasing revenues and heightened customer experience.

Whole new capabilities continue to arise: artificial intelligence to increase the conversion of your sales leads to revenue; acquiring media placement as if through a stock exchange; creating true mass personalization, and more. Is your enterprise ready? The new marketing demands talent steeped in digital tools and techniques, but there is a shortage. What are your plans?


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