At this year’s SiriusDecisions Summit, we reviewed the findings from our recent study of CMOs’ perspectives on the marketing organization of the future. One of the more interesting results was how these senior marketing leaders view the biggest drivers of change in their organizations. Here are the top three responses (in order):

  1. The need for greater ROI. What is particularly interesting about this being the CMOs’ top priority is why it has become so important. During our interviews, many of these leaders commented on the progress their organizations have made in demand creation and the ability to measure marketing’s impact. This progress has fueled greater need for demand generation — because its impact can now be measured — as well as improved measurement of branding and an insatiable appetite for the assembly of marketing measurements into a meaningful dashboard. The result has been an increased investment in marketing operations. Ops roles have expanded from pure marketing measurement to providing insight into KPIs and metrics, marketing technology and data management.
  2. Expanding digital marketing. The role of digital marketing in B2B markets continues to expand. CMOs see this in a changing marketing mix, the use of technology in most marketing efforts, and a need for social media throughout the buyers’ journey. Yet, while the importance of digital marketing has significantly changed, the marketing skills to enable the strategy have not. This has resulted in expanding roles in the demand center – providing a center of excellence for field marketers, Web marketing skills that far exceed a single Web marketing role, and the emergence of social media expertise as an essential core marketing skill enabled by a social operations center.
  3. Breadth of products. The third priority is to rapidly move to solution marketing – away from product. Most CMOs commented that they have new business models in their portfolio (e.g. cloud); they also noted the need to deal with more offerings resulting from recent acquisitions, as well as with buyers who are well informed about their products but not as knowledgeable on how their organizations will specifically impact the buyer’s business. As a result, CMOs are investing more in solution marketing and marketing content. A new emerging role is that of the “content strategist,” which we define by the following characteristics: centralized accountability and responsibility, broad oversight and authority, and a range of strategic responsibilities.
  4. While every organization is a bit different, it is interesting to take a step back and consider these three priorities. In many ways they represent the changing skill sets of today’s B2B marketer; measurement, technology, social media and solution marketing have all become critical areas of knowledge. They also represent an increasing need for the science of marketing. Good marketing is always a blend of art and science; however, perhaps with more science, the art will gain even greater value.