CMOs are the marketing equivalent of plate spinners. They keep a constant tab on emerging developments, author the brand story, and ensure the overall cohesion of the brand.
In larger organisations, CMOs perform these tasks by communicating with a variety of marketing departments. Generally, these departments don’t contact one another outside of the CMO.
To make things more difficult, the digital age has uprooted traditional marketing strategies. As marketing migrates further online, it only becomes more of an unpredictable prospect.
Below, we’ve outlined three challenges that CMOs must rise to face during the digital age. Keep these three plates spinning and you should be well on your way to a positive ROI.
1. Staying on top of emerging developments
Technology is constantly advancing, and the tools of the modern CMO are evolving with it. CMOs need to keep their teams up-to-date with any changes to social media platforms or data analytic software. Failure to keep teams up to date on current trends will inevitably result in missed opportunities and wasted investments.
Of course, briefing marketing teams to this level is easier said than done. Marketing occurs across a variety of different platforms. Each platform has its own unique feel. Creating briefs for each platform can be time-consuming. In large organisations, long and bureaucratic approval procedures can drag briefs to a dead halt.
For this reason, it’s crucial that CMOs cultivate dependable team leaders. Developments happen immediately online—there isn’t always enough time for everyone to mull everything over. To a CMO, there’s nothing more valuable than a team leader with the capacity to quickly react to emerging developments.
2. Selling the experience, not the product
The internet is always on, and this means that the primary channel of communication between the brand and the consumer is always active. Raja Rajamannar, MasterCard’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, thinks this change has thrust marketing into a new era of experiential storytelling, or, as he calls it, “storymaking“.
“As the world becomes more experiential, every person alive today is a natural story-maker. The desire for amazing experiences is bottomless. It’s not enough to tell stories about priceless experiences. We need to align the stars for our consumers and help them create their own.”
It can be tempting to think that the relationship between the brand and the consumer begins and ends with the product. However, from the moment the customer first considers the purchase, up until their final interaction with the product, the brand and the customer are connected.
Storytelling CMOs shouldn’t just consider the story behind their product—they should also consider the stories their consumers will make while interacting with the brand. The best CMO won’t just sell the product through storytelling, they’ll sell the brand experience by “storymaking“.
3. Building outwards from your core storytelling message
Typically, brand stories are built around a core belief. For example, Airbnb is built on the idea that “people are fundamentally good and every community is a place where you can belong”. In line with this thinking, Airbnb embraces local cultures and social diversity as part of its brand story.
Airbnb’s brand story is successful because it remains true to the organisation’s mission while resonating with its target market. Its brand story appeals to young travellers, but also complements its business model. Striking this balance ensures its brand story is authentic, greatly increasing the organisation’s marketing credibility.
Unfortunately, a CMO’s success is tied to the bottom line. This might lead some to resort to unsustainable strategies—like misrepresenting their brand to attract an audience. Worse still, CMOs can often be so engrossed in the marketing language of sales pitches and benefit bullet points that they struggle to step back. Instead, they need t0 evaluate their brand from an ordinary person’s perspective.
The easy way for a CMO to avoid these problems is to stick to a core storytelling message. By building their brand story around this core message, CMOs can create sustainable relationships founded on trust. Brand storytelling isn’t about tricking someone into buying something they don’t want. Instead, it’s about earning trust and bringing customers around to your brand mission.