Chief marketing officers at top companies are using customer insights and passion to build brand equity and increase the strategic value of marketing within their companies, according to new research by Dr. Rachel Talton, an award-winning marketing and branding consultant, researcher, and author in Cleveland.
Here’s what Talton has learned about today’s CMOs and some tips for how marketing agencies can help clients create smarter marketing strategies.
Redefining the Strategic Role of Marketing
Talton, CEO of Synergy Marketing Strategy & Research, Inc., interviewed 26 CEOs, 53 CMOs, and 14 other C-suite executives for a new book about driving brand value through passion and loyalty. She shared her initial findings at a recent forum for presidents of advertising and marketing agencies in Northeast Ohio sponsored by the American Advertising Federation-Cleveland.
“CMOs see themselves as the voice of the customer within their organization and they are striving to build a customer-centric culture while growing ROI,” Talton explains. “They want to be relationship-builders within the company, using the customer’s wants and needs to build to bridges between departments.”
Talton says marketing executives at top brands know that “it’s not just about making a good product anymore – and it’s not just about great advertising. CMOs are also asking themselves, ‘what additional value do we add and how can we use that to differentiate ourselves? We need to do what we do better – with passion, like we mean it. When we do, the customer will feel it.’”
By focusing on building passion, trust, and loyalty – externally with customers but also within their companies – Talton says that CMOs are redefining the strategic role of marketing within their organizations.
How Marketing Agencies Can be Strategic Partners
Talton advises advertising and marketing agencies to give CMOs the tools and strategies to be a better voice of the customer, using analytics and insights to understand the customer’s desires.
“The pressure on CMOs is greater than ever. CMOs must prove themselves and justify their decisions every day,” she notes. “I’m amazed at the lack of analysis in marketing today. Agencies need to focus on ROI as though their lives depended on it – because their professional lives in marketing do!”
Talton believes that “strong creative isn’t enough in this century.” The advertising industry is contracting and the agencies that survive will be the ones that partner with CMOs and think strategically.
“Align with the CMO’s view of themselves, their ownership of the brand strategy, and their role in the strategy of creating a customer,” she concludes. “Even if they call you in just to do a new brochure or web skin, pitch and deliver to strategy. It’s not just about developing campaigns; we’ve got to be better strategic marketing partners.”
Talton’s book on The Currency of Passion is scheduled for publication later this year.