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Discussing the role of the new CMO

By Nicole McMillan

'Operating way beyond marketing' is how Harriet De Swiet, Managing Director of Brand Learning and Singapore Marketing Society board member, described the hyper-relevant CMO in her opening at  ‘The Role of the New CMO’ breakfast held at the Economic Development Board. Harriet was referencing research conducted by Brand Learning and Accenture. According to the research the CMO’s who are cutting through the negativity surrounding the future relevance of a CMO, are uniting their businesses with cross functional collaboration and redefining their job descriptions to better connect to consumers and customers.

The findings from the study led to a meaty provocation: how many of us are spending three quarters of our time on disruptive growth in line with the high performing CMOs?  Additionally how much time are we spending thinking about our people and how they can be obsessive about customer centricity to drive different sources of growth?

The panel talked candidly about the challenge to break down silos within their respective organisations and bringing stronger integration through new collaboration models internally to bring the tech, marketing and sales and operations teams closer together. One of the top tips the panel agreed unanimously on, was prioritising the customer journey with joint goals across functions as a catalyst to unlocking collaboration.

In driving transformation the panel talked about the importance of the CMO displaying curiosity and a desire to relook at the business model to reinvent the way things are getting done. A couple of tips included asking the question, 'is marketing a profit centre or a cost centre?' How can the top marketer get closer to and take a share of the revenue goals for more seamless integration and a partnership with the sales function?

Additionally, simplifying the tech stack was seen as an important lever in transforming the business model for greater efficiency and robust customer insights.

Talent was another subject the research and panel discussion urged marketers to think about. 'What skills will be needed in the next 5 years?' and 'There needs to be a stronger connection between HR and commercial to build the right talent', looking beyond the organisation's own industry was seen as a way to do this, along with marketers building more fluid careers.


By Nicole McMillan, Vice President Marketing AMEA at Mars and Marketing Society Singapore board member.

'The rise of the hyper-relevent CMO' research can be accessed on Brand Learning's website here.