McKinsey Quarterly has an interesting article on the evolving role of the CMO (requires subscription). In it they argue that while most CMO’s have their hands full, their role should be further expanded – to represent “the voice of the customer” throughout the organization.
(Yes! finally some common sense on the role of the CMO from an authoritative voice …)
In the face of a rapidly changing customer – ignoring “push” marketing and making buying decisions based on their own research rather than sales recommendations – and with bloggers and other consumer-generated content now determining corporate reputations, companies need to change the way they meet customer needs, the way they innovate, and the way they behave in the marketplace. That will require change efforts across the entire corporation, and who is better positioned to lead those charge than the CMO?
You don’t buy the fact that “push” marketing is dead? Then consider this: in consumer electronics more than half of the buyers buy products based on their own research rather than advice from sales staff. More than 60% of baby boomers use the Internet to supplement their doctor’s advice (so pharma marketers have to rethink the pitch to doctors). And by 2010, it is expected that 80% of all insurance purchases will be based on consumer research rather than information supplied by insurance agents.
You are not worried about consumer generated content? McKinsey Quarterly says” “User-generated media account for almost one-third of all the time individuals spend on the 100 most visited US Web sites, up from roughly 3 percent just two years ago.”
The change in consumer buying habits is broader than some may expect. It is not just that the number of customer touch points with a company has increased dramatically, there is also a more rapid growth of the low and high ends of the the market at the expense of the middle.
So a marketer does not just need to understand the changing customer need as it relates to their product or service, they also need to understand the changing buying needs of those same customers and adapt the whole company to deal with those changes.