Top Challenges Facing Today’s CMO

As a CMO, you feel tremendous pressure from the board, sales, customers and just about everyone in your company.

You not only have to manage ideas, but you also have to manage people, content, campaigns, budgets, and results. You are the conceiver of strategies and must forge plans to execute them.

However, there are lots of hurdles on the path toward a successful campaign and brand, especially now that CMOs have longer tenures, averaging at around 43 months.

To better understand the issues that CMOs face and why they matter, I want to dive into the top challenges of CMOs.

Proving ROI

CMOs need to attribute our contributions to revenue. This top challenge for CMOs isn’t new. It’s the continued story of marketing having to prove its worth. Marketing spends money so it’s imperative to show the correlation of that spending with new business generated.

It comes down to marketing being recognized as an asset, not just an expense. Proving ROI has become much easier with technology tools and platforms. Depending on how sophisticated your system is, you should be able to analyze data collected and have a true indication of how marketing efforts generated quality leads.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

Most organizations have shifted to being customer-centric, thus the customer experience becomes paramount. It’s on the minds and budgets of many CMOs. In Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey, customer experience was found to be one of the top three elements CMOs considered vital to their strategies.

The customer experience has many facets. There’s the online experience as well as considering the outcomes customers attain when purchasing a product or service. The customer experience never ends, as long as that company is your customer. A better understanding of the customer journey can help you optimize their experiences.

The real challenge facing CMOs when it comes to delivering better customer experiences, is convincing our stakeholders around the company that we have to put customer over product. Thus the job of the CMO now includes culture and being a true change agent.

Driving Efficiency

Forbes Insights surveyed hundreds of CMOs in a recent research project to determine what topics are most significant to them. Efficiency in marketing was the top answer at 46%. Seeking efficiency in marketing relies on a few factors: namely technology and people.

Technology can streamline activities such as content management, and providing internal teams with workflows that simplify the process. On the other hand, you need the right people that have the skills and passion to craft engaging content, while also actually using the technology properly.

To shore up efficiency, you should consider how your technology is helping you (or if it is at all) and if your staff has fully adopted it. For example, is your tech facilitating content automation? This is an area where you can reduce the resources and time needed to execute certain activities.

If you see weaknesses here, then it might be a good time to try out other platforms. If you haven’t introduced technology tools at all to your marketing, then it’s time to do an audit to determine where technology can assist.

Managing an In-House Creative Team

As a CMO, your in-house creative team is vital to marketing success. The trend for a few years has been to bring creative back in-house, versus using an agency, which means a growing headcount to manage. You may be facing many challenges in these relationships.

Much of the time these challenges come from lack of communication or direction. That’s part of the message you can glean from the 2019 In-House Creative Management Report from INSource and inMotionNow. Here are some critical insights from this report that CMOs should know:

  • 45% of respondents said morale on their team is high, which indicates that most teams feel disconnected, impacting their ability to deliver quality creative.
  • 79% said they rarely or never receive feedback on their performance. This stat shows that there are gaps in leadership. Creatives seek feedback to know where they stand and without it may not be producing their best work.
  • 72% of creatives report that getting the necessary information was their biggest admin task, and 48% spend at least one day a week on non-creative work.

These responses suggest that efficiency in assigning and developing creative is lacking. When workers don’t have the correct information and do not have a way to streamline projects, there is a lot of time wasted outside of producing content.

On the other hand, creatives who spent less than four hours a week on admin tasks were more likely to report effective leadership.

  • 46% of creatives said they do not get sufficient information in a creative brief to begin a project. Creative briefs are essential to an efficient and effective creative team.

You likely already have a creative brief template, but how thorough are they? It’s worth doing an audit to find out and exploring ways to streamline briefs.

  • 64% and 54%, respectively, think creative and marketing leadership is effective. With growing teams, more projects, and tight deadlines, CMOs may be struggling to manage effectually.

These statistics are ones to consider as less engaged leadership leads to misaligned teams.

The study also looked at key metrics, with 45% of respondents stating that their reporting is inadequate or non-existent. Without information on how campaigns and products fare when launched, creatives may fail to see the connection between their work and the brand’s success. Content analytics also lets them know what’s working and what isn’t so they can refine their production accordingly.

Further, the report demonstrated that the most effective teams are collaborative. They work together on the creative brief, communicate often, streamline workflows, and offer feedback that is then used to optimize results.

In the final question, respondents were asked about what they would request from their CMO. The answers led to three main points: alignment, strategy, and resources. The report implores CMOs to allow creative teams to have strategic input and to provide workflow automation, invest in training and development, and improve business context and goals.

Free Your Creatives With a Content Marketing Platform

Can content marketing be more efficient? Yes, when you have a content marketing software platform. Many of the top challenges of CMOs, as we’ve revealed, have a lot to do with efficiency and workflow. If you can simplify the day-to-day of your marketing teams, then your content production is aligned and organized. Improve visibility and transparency in the process and boost collaboration efforts all from a single platform.