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TV Tech and the Changing Role of the CMO

November 13th, 2019   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

The job of the chief marketing officer is as prone to trends as any other. As technology continues to penetrate every advertising medium, including television, today’s CMO must rethink the approach to TV. Programmatic and addressable TV present challenges and opportunities.

Forrester analyzed the changing role of the CMO in October 2018, on behalf of Accenture, finding that companies now believe that customer experience—not branding—is the key to success. This focus requires coordination across multiple departments, from product design to engineering to sales to marketing.

Forrester concluded that the changing role of the CMO should now be what it called “chief collaborator.” That is, not only shaping the organization’s brand, which will then influence every aspect of the customer experience, but also pulling together all the organization’s departments and external partners while filling any gaps left by others in the C suite.

TV Advertising for Today’s CMO

No matter what you call it, the executive in charge of marketing must have expertise in television advertising. TV still reaches the widest audience and drives the most conversions to purchase, especially when combined with OTT.

Even Pinterest, a digital-native brand, plans to advertise on TV as well as in print and out-of-home, reported Adweek. CMO Andréa Mallard said one of her biggest tasks was educating her marketing team about traditional marketing channels.

And, in line with the changing role of the CMO, TV advertising itself is evolving. MediaRadar pointed to NBCU’s Shoppable TV format as an example of how television is beginning to incorporate digital formats and data.

Programmatic TV platforms are another example. Programmatic TV lets marketers make use of the same first- and third-party data that drives digital campaigns. Addressable TV lets them plan and target segments across digital and television.

Jim Nail, principal Forrester analyst, told CMO.com that CMOs—as well as media buyers of all ranks—must be able to understand both linear and addressable TV advertising so they can make a unified plan.

They’ll also need to accept and learn to use a variety of audience measurements, from Nielsen and Comscore to impressions, OTT metrics and automatic content recognition systems. These can’t be simply combined to get something like a combined GRP.

Meanwhile, they need to grasp the variety in audience definitions among broadcasters that offer audience targeting.

An Evolving Role

As mobile and social media usage increased, the proliferation of new consumer touch points created new challenges for CMOs, McKinsey warned in 2007. This created a fragmented media landscape, with many digital channels not at scale. In addition, the rise in importance of consumer-generated content such as reviews and blogs made it imperative that corporate affairs, investor relations, and public relations become closely aligned.

As digital channels matured, companies often added the role of chief digital officer, according to CIO. The thinking—promulgated by digital-native advertising agencies—was that digital was unique, and traditional marketers could not understand it.

As digital became central to marketing, ad agencies began to roll digital capabilities back into their traditional teams, and the buzzword was “integrated campaigns.” Now, the thought was that campaigns must be planned and executed to reach consumers across their preferred channels. The changing role of the CMO now moved back toward overseeing marketing across all channels.

Demise of the CMO?

Some organizations have responded to the changing role of the CMO by eliminating that position altogether.

In 2007, Coca Cola eliminated the title of CMO, merging the functions of marketing, customer, and commercial leadership strategy under a chief growth officer, Ad Age reported.

More recently, Johnson & Johnson said it would not replace its departing CMO. Adweek noted that the CPG giant would bring that function under a more general business role.

In a later article, Ad Age found this trend accelerating. Only 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a chief marketing officer. There’s a proliferation of new titles taking its place and an even broader remit for these execs, whatever they’re called.

For example, Hyatt Hotels replaced the CMO function with the position of chief commercial officer, responsible for loyalty programs, global sales, revenue management, distribution strategy, corporate marketing, communications, digital, and customer service centers.

Taco Bell elevated the title and responsibilities of its CMO to global chief brand officer, charged with a wide range of initiatives including creating a branded pop-up hotel in Palm Springs that will only be open for a few days.

Data Drives the CMO

Whatever the moniker, today’s marketing executives and their teams should have the closest proximity to customer data and insights, the Forrester report advised.

A Salesforce survey found that only 47 percent of marketers have a completely unified view of customer data sources. But the highest-performing marketers are 7.3 times more likely to be completely satisfied with their ability to use data.

Today’s TV advertising is like a jigsaw puzzle, Nail said. CMOs must be able to fit multiple pieces together to create holistic marketing plans that work.

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