Disruptive Digital Technologies Shake Up the C-Suite: As the Roles of Top Executives Evolve, New Positions Emerge to Fill the Gaps

By Minsker, Maria | CRM Magazine, July 2014 | Go to article overview

Disruptive Digital Technologies Shake Up the C-Suite: As the Roles of Top Executives Evolve, New Positions Emerge to Fill the Gaps


Minsker, Maria, CRM Magazine


Online and digital advertising revenue grew to $43 billion in 2013, surpassing broadcast television for the first time in history, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. To meet the growing demand for digital advertising, digital marketing budgets will rise by 10 percent in 2014, Gartner predicts in its "Digital Marketing Spending" report. A word of caution, though: As budgets grow, so, too, do expectations. With chief marketing officers working to determine how to use new resources, analysts worry that skill gaps in the C-suite call for new, digitally focused roles.

The tech-savvy, connected consumer is changing marketing and making the traditional marketing funnel obsolete, says Jake Sorofman, a Gartner analyst. "Consumer-brand interactions are not linear, like they used to be. Consumers are interacting with brands through a maze of different experiences and devices, like social media, mobile, and other disruptive channels. So, ideally, the person that occupies the role of the CMO should be a digital native--someone who is proficient at all of these new channels," Sorofman says.

"But that's not entirely possible, because most digital natives haven't even come of age yet," he adds.

Enter the chief marketing technologist. A new role, the chief marketing technologist is rarely a peer to the CMO. "Sometimes the chief marketing technologist is a formal role that aims to fill some of the gaps between marketing and technology arms, but often an individual might function as a growth hacker--an informal role that aligns closely with the CMO to drive digital growth," Sorofman explains.

The chief customer officer has also become a crucial supporting role, Sorofman asserts, because the individual who fills it enables the CMO to shift from traditional outbound marketing, instead becoming an inbound advocate who creates lasting engagements and draws the audience in.

"Many organizations haven't grown up yet, and are stuck in a siloed legacy setup. They're used to looking outward at customers through different channels," Sorofman says. "The chief customer officer, then, is tasked with inverting that setup, looking at customers through the lens of customers' experiences, and hiding the silos that stand in the way of meaningful interactions," he says. …

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