It was back in 2012 that Harvard Business Review published an almost sacrilegious article under the title “Marketing is dead”.
The headline was a reaction to an adverse climate, both inside and outside companies.
From one side, consumers were beginning to become sceptical and selective when it came to corporate communications, condemning traditional advertising to death in the process.
From the other, CEOs were at their wits end with the demanding approach of CMOs, who were used to requesting economic resources without having to justify the investment or produce evidence of ROI.
Five years down the line and the situation seems to have been flipped on its head. Marketing has changed its spots and recovered its status, spurred on by a plethora of new phenomena.
Take the content marketing trend, for instance, which has transformed companies into factories producing their own content (just look at the rivalry between Apple and Netflix), which can be used both as food for thought – to nurture and engage the digital community – and as strategic assets ripe for monetisation.
Just as important is the digital transformation gripping companies, who have invested huge amounts into modernising their IT infrastructure and digitalising their purchasing channels and are now in desperate need of creating value for consumers.
But how are they going to do it?
By taking a bold, consistent strategy to how they approach owned media such as social networks.
By using each and every touchpoint to spark human, engaging experiences.
By guiding consumers through a fulfilling purchasing experience.
And all the while observing their behaviour to obtain data, analyse it and garner priceless information and insight in order to continue improving and meeting customer needs even more effectively.
Marketing, it seems, has gone from the verge of apparent death to renewed life. In the current economy of experience, the importance of marketing has drastically increased, reenergising the career prospects of CMOs in the process.
And while running the marketing department was once the height of aspiration for a professional in the branding and communications sector, nowadays the horizons are much broader.
With the need to understand clients and maintain a continuous dialogue with them now more pressing than ever before, the CMO is becoming a role of such strategic importance for consumer-centric companies that these professionals are beginning to eye the driver’s seat.
That’s right. Making the step from CMO to CEO is no longer an impossible dream.
It is, of course, still a very challenging manoeuvre, one that requires professionals to bridge the gaps between the marketing department and the upper echelons of the corporate world.
In order for a good leader in the branding, communication and consumer behaviour sectors to become a capable CEO, they must acquire a comprehensive understanding of the business world, increase their interaction with the other sectors of their company and hone their people management and budgeting skills.
So which road to take?
The goal is to show yourself to be a broadminded CMO with a complete profile – a leader capable of analysing economic data, planning activities and resources, building a strategic vision, interpreting market research, gaining a complete understanding of a particular product and mastering digital resources.
It’s without doubt an extremely diverse, complex set of skills to obtain, unless you have years of front-line experience under your belt.
To speed the process up and ensure you don’t miss any opportunities, training is the perfect option.
As well as a degree in economics or business – something that is now seen as a given – you need professional training in order to fast-track your way into the CMO’s chair.
Among the most popular avenues are an MBA or MA in Marketing. Both options offer up-to-date, comprehensive training, which is vital if you are going to obtain the necessary visibility and credibility.
You’ll build up a solid foundation where you can plant your feet, bend your knees and take the leap towards that CMO role – with the keys you need to unlock the door to the CEO’s office tucked away for when the time comes.