Modern Marketing: What it is, what it is not, and how to do it

Today’s TextileFuture Newsletter is throwing some light on modern marketing methods. Marketing is a very worthy tool throughout all segments of the industries. That is why we have chosen to present it to our readers, but it is not specific on the regular textile themes.

We add – also from McKinsey – a second feature to complete the Marketing theme, it is entitled “Marketing’s moment is now: The C-suite partnership to deliver on growth”

Here starts the item 1:

Modern Marketing: What it is, what it is not, and how to do it

The guest authors are Sarah Armstrong is an alumna of McKinsey’s Atlanta office, Dianne Esber is a partner in the San Francisco office, Jason Heller is an alumnus of the New York office, and Björn Timelin is a senior partner in the London office.

To drive growth in the digital age, marketing needs to modernise a specific set of capabilities and mindsets

What does “modern marketing” mean to you? We can all probably think of a clever digital campaign, an innovative app, or some inspired creative work shared across multiple channels.

While these examples contain some of the hallmarks of modern marketing, in our view it is much bigger than that. Modern marketing is the ability to harness the full capabilities of the business to provide the best experience for the customer and thereby drive growth. In a recent McKinsey survey, 83 % of global CEOs said they look to marketing to be a major driver for most or all of a company’s growth agenda.

Delivering on this promise requires a whole new way of operating. Marketing departments need to be rewired for speed, collaboration, and customer focus. It is less about changing what marketing does and more about transforming how the work is done. Based on successful cases we have seen, we estimate that making this change can unlock 5 to 15 percent of additional growth and trim 10 to 30 percent of marketing costs.

Where to start

In our experience, most senior leaders understand that marketing has to modernize, but they are less sure what specifically that means. Too often, they focus on a handful of initiatives or capabilities and then grow frustrated when the promised value does not appear.

For this reason, it is crucial to have a clear view of what constitutes a model for modern marketing (Exhibit 1). While each of these components is familiar, we have found that the clarity of seeing them organized into a cohesive model gives leaders a better sense of how to track all the elements and how they should work together.

That clarity is crucial as leaders develop plans and programs to modernize each of the capabilities and enablers (Exhibit 2). The traditional way to create content, for instance, is to roll out periodic, one-size-fits-all campaigns that can be modified only to a limited extent. On the other hand, a modern marketing organization has systems that allow for large volumes of messages and content to be constantly created, monitored by performance analytics, and then adjusted as needed. Take personalization. It used to mean broad offerings and experiences across large consumer segments. Today, the goal is to leverage data from all consumer interactions to creatively deliver as much relevant one-to-one marketing as possible.

While most CMOs we know have made progress toward developing modern marketing organizations, many are discouraged by a lack of progress. We have found that the core issues are the absence of a commitment to the full suite of changes necessary and a lack of clarity about dependencies. Without that understanding, we find that teams tend to naturally gravitate to working on things they know best or are most excited about, ignoring other elements. This creates blind spots in the transformation process that lead to delays, frustration, and, ultimately, a loss of value. Modernizing marketing capabilities, for example, requires an upgrade of four key operational enablers. But, a successful transformation won’t succeed without three mindset shifts that provide a foundation for change.

Mindsets: Thinking like a modern marketer

Before embarking on a modern marketing transformation, there are three mindset shifts that are necessary to enable change.

Modern marketer: Rebecca Messina

Rebecca Messina, former CMO of Uber and Beam Suntory, discusses what it means to be a modern marketer.

What should CMOs keep in mind as they think through their modern marketing model?

CMOs should keep in mind that they are leading a journey and that this evolution will continue. Help your organization see milestones big and small, and help people get comfortable with the idea that they may never be “done.” For marketers, being modern is about being current and relevant, and the organizations we are building, like our brands, have both a timeless and timely nature.

What are the two or three essential capabilities for CMOs to focus on?

The capability focus for each CMO will differ by business and/or industry. That said, there are three critical capabilities that I believe should transcend industry and be a focal point for CMOs to become modern marketers:

  • Strategy and insights. Strategic direction and insights are the fuel the team needs. They provide partners, agencies, and internal cross-functional teams with the clarity they need to do their best, most differentiated work. If they are weak or not aligned with business strategy, the teams will burn resources in changing direction often.
  • Talent management. As leaders, we must create the conditions for others to thrive and ensure that our teams are well selected, motivated, rewarded, and developed. That will help us put the best teams in place and empower them to do their best work every day.
  • Data and technology. Whether your team is best in its class or at the start of its journey, you have to stay sharp about data and technology. Playing catch-up here is very hard.

What advice do you have for CMOs making the transition to modern marketing?

No marketer, I hope, wants to “sit still,” but change or evolution toward the unknown can be daunting for teams that have operated with a certain model for a long time. Start somewhere and keep the team grounded in what is familiar, while showing them the path to what is new and what you expect of them in terms of capability development.

What is most exciting to you about the transition to the modern marketing model?

This is a very exciting time to be a marketer. We can do things we have never done before, faster than ever, and we can measure and understand more than ever about the effectiveness of our plans. Above all, we are privileged to have a new level of potential consumer understanding. It is our duty to respect it and use it to bring empathy to our work.

What pitfalls should CMOs watch out for as they move into the modern marketing world?

The pitfall is falling in love with data and automation and letting that replace our creativity, our imagination, and our empathy. Those are some of the most unique attributes that a marketing team can bring to the business. We can fall into the trap of being so excited about all that we can now measure and automate that we can easily lose sight of that core capability of marketing. The magic is in bringing these worlds together.

1. Unifier mindset

To drive growth, marketing leaders must work collaboratively with diverse areas of the company, from sales and product innovation to finance, technology, and HR. In fact, our research has shown that CMOs (or those in a similar role, such as chief growth officer or chief customer officer) who function as “unifiers,” leaders who work with C-suite peers as an equal partner, drive greater growth than those who don’t. Unifier CMOs adopt the language and mindset of other C-suite executives, articulate how marketing can help meet their needs, and ensure that they understand marketing’s clearly defined role. Moreover, this creation of productive, collaborative relationships doesn’t end at the C-suite. Marketing leaders should role model—and set expectations for—how each member of the marketing team should collaborate seamlessly with colleagues in other functions.

2. Customer-centric mindset

Putting customers first is not a new idea, of course. What’s different today is that marketers have unequivocal evidence that meeting customers’ needs creates value and delivers competitive advantage. Modern marketers must also be aware of the challenges of complexity and scale they must meet to achieve customer-centricity. They involve commitments to several elements: a design-thinking approach, to solving customer pain points, and unmet needs; a centralised data platform with a unified view of customers, culled from every possible touchpoint; the continuous generation of insights from customer-journey analytics; the measurement of everything consumers see and engage with; and the hiring and development of talented people, who know how to translate insights about customers into experiences, that resonate with customers.

The first step is to realize that customer segmentation goes deeper than you think. The best marketers are developing capabilities for efficient engagement across numerous microsegments. By doing this, marketing organizations can better understand the motivations and behaviours of their most valuable customers. They can also organise their efforts around acquiring more of them and creating greater loyalty.

3. Return on investment (ROI) mindset

Digital channels and improvements in analytics and data science now make it both possible and necessary for marketers to be accountable for delivering value across all channels. To operate with an ROI mindset, everyone needs to operate as if the money they are spending is their own. This means closely monitoring investments, putting in place standards to identify those not generating value, and creating a culture of accountability in which underperforming investments are scrapped. Such financial rigor will not only help marketing fulfil its mandate as a growth driver; it will also build credibility with the CFO, unlock additional investment, and demonstrate marketing’s value to the entire company. One streaming company, for example, has built into the core of its culture continuous A/B testing of hundreds of variants of its website and apps and measuring their impact on viewing hours and retention. To support this, each product team has its own embedded analytics talent.

Where are you on your journey to modern marketing?

Answer options below define the most advanced (Level 5) and least advanced (Level 1) marketing activities.

Strategy & insights

Question: What is your approach to brand strategy and customer insights, and how has it changed over the past several years?

Level 1: We refresh our brand strategy every two to three years. Primary research and focus groups are used to generate insights that are loosely translated by frontline marketers.

Level 5: We refine our brand strategy at least annually, and all marketers fully understand how to activate traditional approaches plus advanced analytics and real-time sources of insights.

Creative & content

Question: How do you manage creative and content strategy, production, and optimization?

Level 1: We focus on creating several core campaigns. We do not have extensive variations of creative or content, in part because we have not figured out an efficient way to do so.

Level 5: We have an effective content supply chain, are able to create versioning and transcreation. We use AI tools to augment our content production and optimization.

Media & channel activation

Question: How are you delivering your messages to customers across paid-, owned-, and earned-media channels?

Level 1: Each media channel is planned and managed independently by specialized teams, sometimes with little to no interaction.

Level 5: We plan and execute omnichannel with defined strategies of how channels work together; we also generate and amplify earned media through paid and owned activities.

Customer experience & personalization

Question: How are you delivering relevant and personalized experiences to various customer segments?

Level 1: We deliver several broad experiences across large customer segments, with limited personalization.

Level 5: Experiences are customer-centric and personalized across channels and the customer life cycle, steeped in a deep understanding of customer needs and pain points.

Measurement & marketing ROI

Question: How are you measuring and optimizing your marketing activities and media spend?

Level 1: We do not measure holistically, periodically running media-mix models, and for digital, we measure last-touch attribution and reallocate media dollars approximately quarterly. Each campaign has clearly defined KPIs.

Level 5: We use customer-level omnichannel MROI analytics, enhanced with third-party data, and we optimize campaign parameters on a weekly basis. We have automated dashboards at various levels of granularity for different stakeholders.

Product & pricing

Question: How have the voice of the customer and advanced analytics influenced product development and pricing strategies?

Level 1: We are a product-centric organization, and our products and pricing decisions are largely isolated from our key consumer insights and go-to-market capabilities.

Level 5: Our product portfolio is evolving based on active consumer insights and analytics. Pricing is driven by a combination of research and analytics within operational constraints.

Organisational design & culture

Question: How are the culture and organization model evolving to support the modernization of your marketing capabilities?

Level 1: Our marketing organization and culture have not changed significantly beyond adding new digital capabilities.

Level 5: Our culture has changed significantly to nurture modern marketing talent, and our organization model elevates and emphasizes functions such as analytics, consumer insights, and marketing operations.

Agile way of working

Question: How have your day-to-day marketing processes changed to drive speed, experimentation, and measurable results?

Level 1: Our teams are structured by function with managers who ensure key processes and quality control are followed. It often takes many weeks, sometimes months, to get campaigns out the door.

Level 5: Our teams employ agile principles to operate cross-functional teams that have relative autonomy and are able to execute and scale tests in weeks or even days.

Talent & agency management

Question: Do you have a clear point of view on which marketing capabilities should be in-house versus outsourced and how they should be managed and incentivized?

Level 1: We have not reviewed our talent/ agency resource model in the past two years and do not match marketing resources to business outcomes (eg, revenue, customer growth, customer lifetime value, etc.).

Level 5: We have a clearly defined model for which capabilities are insourced, and we reevaluate this often. All resources, internal and agency, are held to the expectation of specific business outcomes.

Data & technology

Question: How are you managing and integrating marketing and advertising technology to drive marketing outcomes?

Level 1: Marketing technology is owned and managed by IT, and core advertising-technology capabilities are owned and managed by the agency. There are gaps and sometimes a lack of transparency.

Level 5: Marketing defines the use cases and works closely with IT to architect and manage the martech stack and unified customer-data platform.

Enablers: Operating like a modern marketer

To modernise marketing’s capabilities, marketing organizations need to upgrade four key underlying operational enablers. (For more on questions that could help your organization understand how far it has to go, see sidebar “Where are you on your journey to modern marketing?”)

1. Organisational design and culture: Turning mindsets into behaviour

To support modern marketing behaviour, companies can take a number of practical actions, including the following:

  • Incentivise group success. Since delivering value to the company is a cross-functional team sport, marketing organizations need a culture focused not just on individual achievement but on shared goals, team performance, and accountability. This means changing how marketing organizations reward, acknowledge, and evaluate talent, such as the inclusion of cross-functional team key performance indicators (KPIs) tied to individual compensation. Top talent should also feel a sense of purpose and motivation, derived from an environment that delivers energy and enthusiasm. None of this happens by chance.
  • Elevate consumer insights and analytics. Because customer-centricity and ROI mindsets are critical for modern marketers, customer insights and analytics cannot be support functions within marketing. In a modern marketing organization, they will have a prominent and visible role and a leader who reports directly to the CMO. This serves as a reminder that the voice and behaviour of the customer must be at the centre of everything and that no marketing activities should be executed without the backing of relevant insights and the ability to measure performance.
  • Turbocharge marketing operations. Marketing operations is a backbone function, essential for a modern marketing organization to move with speed and flexibility. To make sure that marketing spending, technology, and processes are all managed to deliver maximum impact and efficiency, the best companies have installed a marketing operations lead, also reporting to the CMO. In some cases, marketing operations will exist as a shared service or central function across marketing. In other cases, it will be distributed across numerous operating units to provide autonomous execution capabilities. We have seen marketing operations provide a 15 to 25 % improvement in marketing effectiveness, as measured by return on investment and customer-engagement metrics. One global financial-services company, for example, figured out that by accelerating the delivery of IT-dependent functions to marketing, it was able to generate an extra 25 % of revenue. That was worth USD 100 million per year.

2. Agile marketing at scale: Getting serious about moving beyond pilots

By far the biggest change to marketing’s organizational design is the shift to agile.

As a decentralised, cross-functional model, agile is critical for operating with speed. Even the most digitally savvy marketing organizations have experienced revenue uplift of 20 to 40 percent by shifting to agile marketing. Small teams of people, called squads, work in the same place and have decision-making authority to execute highly focused tasks. Organizing squads around specific customer objectives ensures that everyone on the team is connected to the customer. Giving squads clear KPIs, such as a volume of new customers or specific revenue goals, ensures that everything is measured and evaluated. Marketing organizations that adopt agile have moved anywhere between 50 and 70 % of their work to this more streamlined and accountable approach, quickly cutting loose anything that is not creating value.

Scaling agile marketing, however, entails more than flattening out an organization chart or establishing cross-functional collaboration. Squads need to have supportive participation from departments such as legal, IT, finance, and often agency partners as well. Without this broader organizational support, agile teams are confined to small pilots with limited impact. At one bank, for instance, the legal department and controller’s office were resistant to providing staff to agile marketing teams because of competing priorities. Marketing leadership knew their agile approach would not work without the other functions, so they invested sufficient time with each function’s leader to articulate how the agile team would work, what value would be generated, and how it would support the business’s overall goals. This effort gave functional leaders enough confidence in the process that they agreed to provide people to the agile squads.

3. Talent and agency management: A constant balancing act

Given the complexity of marketing today and the range of capabilities needed, marketers need a new talent strategy built around three elements:

  • Insource mission-critical roles. While there is no single model for the functions a marketing organization should handle itself, insourcing usually makes sense when there is a desire for ownership of data and technology; when companies seek strong capabilities in a certain area; or when insourcing will greatly accelerate the speed to market and allow for the constant creation, testing, and revision of campaigns.
  • Hire “whole-brained” talent. Today’s in-house roles require a broader skill set, with a balanced mix of left- and right-brain skills. This means, for instance, content producers and experience designers who are comfortable using data, and data-driven marketers who are willing to think outside the box and move closer to consumers. McKinsey research shows that companies able to successfully integrate data and creativity grow their revenues at twice the average rate of S&P 500 companies. Most importantly, modern marketing organizations do not need managers to manage people; they need people to manage output and track performance.
  • Foster an ROI-focused management style. In an environment where autonomous teams are given the ball and asked to run with it, managers need to be comfortable setting KPIs, overseeing output, and tracking the performance of agile teams.

4. Data and technology: An obsession for looking ahead

Marketing metrics have traditionally looked backward to unearth insights about past behavior and measure the effectiveness of current campaigns. Modern marketing organizations use data analytics to look ahead. They anticipate unmet consumer needs, identify opportunities they didn’t know existed, and reveal subtle and addressable customer pain points. Data analytics can also predict the next best actions to take, including the right mix of commercial messages (for cross-selling, upselling, or retention) and engagement actions (content, education, or relationship deepening).

To do this, data must be centralised and easily accessible so that activity in one channel can immediately support real time, or near-real-time, engagement in another. Instead of the traditional approach, where IT takes the lead in data management, marketing leaders should work with IT leaders to develop a shared vision for how data will be accessed and used. This starts with the CMO and CTO/CIO collaborating closely on a business case and road map and then rallying the needed support from across the organisation.

Because the pace of change in the marketplace continues to accelerate, becoming a modern marketing organization must be a “now” priority. Leaders unsure about the need to move aggressively toward this new model might bear in mind a character in Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises, who is asked how he went bankrupt. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually, then suddenly.”

Here starts item 2:

Marketing’s moment is now: The C-suite partnership to deliver on growth

By guest authors Julien Boudet, Biljana Cvetanovski, Brian Gregg, Jason Heller, and Jesko Perrey from McKinsey. Julien Boudet is a partner in McKinsey’s Southern California office; Biljana Cvetanovski is a senior expert in the London office; Brian Gregg is a senior partner in the San Francisco office; Jason Heller is partner in the New York office; and Jesko Perrey is a senior partner in the Düsseldorf office.

The authors wish to thank Fernanda Alves and Jenny Tsai for their contributions to this article.

Is your marketing executive a Unifier, Loner, or Friend? The CMO’s rapport with the C-suite is crucial in establishing marketing’s role as a growth driver.

Marketing’s big opportunity is here. CEOs are turning to marketing to drive their company’s growth agenda, and they are giving CMOs the runway and support to do so.

In a new McKinsey study, 1 83 %of global CEOs say that marketing can be a major driver of growth. For a function that has all too often been thought of as the “brand” or “advertising” arm of the business, this is a notable development. But the news isn’t all rosy. Some 23 percent of CEOs do not feel that marketing is delivering on that agenda, and the view elsewhere in the C-suite is even more mixed. One group of CMOs, however, has figured out how to deliver on the growth promise (Exhibit 1).

C-suite view of marketing

In recent years, a sea change has occurred at leading companies. Executives at these organizations no longer view marketing as bound by functions that sit in the marketing department. Instead, they think in terms of what we call “marketing with a capital M.” In this model, diverse areas of the organization—from sales and product innovation to finance, technology, and HR—participate in marketing’s success and see themselves as partners in its mission. As head of marketing, the CMO has a crucial role to play in driving organizations toward this vision, and the stakes are high. Our analysis reveals that a marketing organization’s ability to drive growth depends heavily on the strength of the partnerships the CMO can forge across the organization. We call these CMOs Unifiers.

To build deep, productive relationships, CMOs have to win over some skeptics in the C-suite. Only half the CFOs we surveyed, for example, said marketing delivers on the promise of driving growth, and 40 percent do not think marketing investments should be protected during a downturn. There is even less symbiosis between marketing and the chief human resources officer (CHRO)—a big Achilles heel, given the need to attract the world-class talent that will allow marketing organizations to thrive. Further complicating matters, just 3 percent of board members have a marketing background. 2 “Everyone [on the board] has an opinion about marketing, but there is very little expertise,” noted one former apparel CEO.

Overcoming these hurdles is not just essential for the CMO; it’s crucial for the business’s growth. Our analysis shows that high-growth companies are seven times more likely to have a Unifier CMO—someone who fosters robust, collaborative partnerships across the C-suite—as the more isolated archetype we call Loner. Most marketers are somewhere in between, an archetype we call Friend (Exhibit 2).

Meet the three CMO archetypes

If Julius Caesar were a modern executive, he might say that, like Gaul, all CMOs are divided into three parts, each with distinctive habits and traits: the Unifier, the Friend, and the Loner. However, only one—the Unifier—is the key to future victory.


These CMOs are masters at fostering cross-functional collaboration. They ensure that marketing has a clearly defined role in the eyes of C-suite peers; they adopt the language and mindset of other C-suite executives; and they articulate how marketing can help meet the C-suite’s needs. They also establish mutual accountability and a shared vision with other executives. Sought after by peers for advice, they have a seat at the table when critical decisions are made, have broad profit-and-loss (P&L) responsibility, and are often involved in defining the company’s strategy. As a result, their budgets are more likely to be protected during a downturn, and they enjoy a 48 percent longer tenure. Unifiers may be born or made. Aside from inherent leadership abilities, the organizational and cultural conditions for creating Unifiers can be established by the CEO.


These CMOs may be great marketers, but they do not have the full support of, or deep relationships with, their C-suite peers. Loners tend to focus on near-term activities like ad campaigns and social media. They are seen by CEOs as executors of brand stewardship, advertising, and PR, not as equal partners. They are more likely to implement strategy than develop it and often report that their CEO does not understand or trust marketing. “If a campaign goes well, it’s because the sales team did well. If it goes bad, it’s marketing’s fault,” one former entertainment president told us, summing up the challenges of working with a Loner CMO.


This most prevalent type of CMO lies somewhere between Unifier and Loner. The Friend has one or two allies in the C-suite, often the CEO, but hasn’t been able to spread marketing’s agenda fully across the organization. Responsible for top-line growth through marketing channels, Friend CMOs typically do not have broad P&L responsibility or even much influence across the entirety of customer experience, such as product development and customer service. They are also not as adept at speaking the language of the C-suite, and chief technical officers (CTOs) tend to see them as “customers” of technology rather than as partners in driving innovation and developing new capabilities.

What Unifiers do well

Unifier CMOs excel in four areas in which they work directly with relevant members of the C-suite to drive the business’s growth agenda.

Fully leveraging CEO support to help drive growth

Unifier CMOs know the CEO is firmly in their corner, and they use this support to further marketing’s growth agenda. They start by making sure the CEO understands how exactly marketing is driving growth, owning the customer, and serving the company’s broader goals and objectives. Unifiers weave many sources of insight and a deep understanding of the customer into a holistic picture of opportunity that the CMO and CEO jointly translate into short- and long-term initiatives.

These CMOs are viewed as peers and called upon by CEOs for insight and early detection of changes in customer habits that will impact the business. Unifiers elevate marketing’s role by developing a deep understanding of end-to-end customer journeys. Thanks to such mutual accountability and shared mind-sets, they report meaningfully more support and buy-in for marketing’s agenda from CEOs than Loners (Exhibit 4).

“Marketing as a support function is antiquated,” said the CEO of an apparel company with a Unifier CMO. These leaders are also given greater authority to oversee marketing-related activities that may not reside in marketing but affect the end-to-end customer journey, such as product and customer service. They are twice as likely as Loner CMOs to be responsible for all customer engagement and value creation, and roughly three times as likely to have oversight over the end-to-end customer journey.

There is at least one area where Unifier CMOs have room to grow, however. Many CEOs want marketers to think big and take risks that could pay off—something CMOs don’t always realize. The former CEO of a leading retailer told us that he was a huge believer in the value of marketing, more so than anyone else in the C-suite. Yet his CMO still sometimes asked for permission instead of assuming co-ownership of the challenge.

Adopting the mind-set of a CFO to establish marketing as a driver of value

If the CEO is a CMO’s closest natural ally, the CFO is one of her toughest critics. “Under pressure, marketing gets cut first because it is the hardest to justify,” said one former consumer goods CFO we interviewed. Forty-five percent of CFOs we surveyed said the reason marketing proposals have been declined or not fully funded in the past is because they did not demonstrate a clear line to value.

To overcome this, Unifier CMOs demonstrate that marketing is accountable and does in fact drive predictable and significant value. The best marketers use advanced analytics to help quantify the impact that marketing spend has on short- and long-term value. They build business cases with metrics that reflect meaningful financial value (ROI, customer lifetime value, revenue run rate) rather than more prevalent but less valid—in the CFO’s eyes, anyway—indicators, such as brand equity, gross rating points (GRPs), or engagement. “Embrace metrics that matter,” said one telecommunications CFO. “Come to me and tell me what the right ones are.”

Unifier CMOs do not just adopt financial lingo for their interactions with the CFO; they incorporate quantitative rigor as well as profit-and-loss accountability into every decision they make. They jointly own the vision, coming to agreements about what each other’s needs are and which initiatives and key performance indicators (KPIs) are important, with the CMO reporting back regularly with progress updates. Artful CMOs are able to do this while still supporting a culture of innovation and experimentation. One tech CMO, for instance, worked with his CFO to co-create a “fighting fund” that looked for marketing efficiencies and funnelled a portion of the savings into a reinvestment fund that marketers could access for projects with a clear ROI. The availability of new funding incentivized marketers to think of innovative approaches.

CFOs who appreciate marketing’s value are also far more likely to preserve its budget in difficult times. At one apparel company, where the CMO has a collaborative relationship with the CFO, it’s the CFO who asserts, “We are not going to touch the marketing budget.”

Partnering with the CTO to unlock the power of data

Companies with Unifier CMOs understand that marketing and technology are inextricable partners in developing capabilities for unlocking value in new ways. Marketing simply cannot take advantage of the vast volume of data companies possess without close collaboration with the CTO.

As partners, they develop a shared vision of how data from separate, disconnected systems can be integrated and then used to understand customers at granular levels, personalize interactions, and predict customer behaviour. At a leading retailer, the CTO joined the CMO in taking accountability for the digital transformation of marketing, repeatedly presenting their vision and budget requirements to the operating committee and board until they got full buy-in.

CTOs who feel responsible for the outcomes of marketing initiatives are more likely to devote dedicated resources to them. Unifier CMOs are about three times as likely as Loners to have their own dedicated data-analytics teams, for example, which help improve the quality and speed of marketing decisions. At one direct-to-consumer entertainment company, the CMO used to “beg” for support from IT. That changed after the company did a multiyear migration to cloud platforms and adopted an agile model in which marketing and tech teams work side by side in pods to accomplish shared goals. These shifts helped the company drive an 11 % increase in top-line revenue (Exhibit 5).

Empowering the CHRO to win the war for talent

All CMOs, regardless of their leadership archetype, understand that driving performance requires access to world-class marketing talent, never an easy thing to come by. Although companies with Unifiers are roughly three times more likely than those with Loners to attract and develop talent that balances analytics and creativity, they still report difficulty in meeting their talent needs (Exhibit 6).

Overall there is a massive talent gap: a whopping 82 percent of Fortune 500 executives don’t believe they recruit highly talented people. 3 Relying on legacy recruiting and training programs won’t do. The CMO can play a critical and influential role here by engaging with the CHRO, educating her about marketing’s diverse talent requirements and the need to evolve the organization’s culture for the next generation. Together, the CMO and CHRO can develop new job classifications and devise innovative ways of building talent, from going all out to hire anchor talent and building new careers paths to creating talent war rooms that can recruit more quickly. Setting up internal academies to reskill and upskill existing marketers and non-marketers can help people keep pace with changes in the marketplace.

Arguably, there has never been a better time to be a CMO. CEOs are giving CMOs permission to step up and think boldly about how marketing can drive growth. But CMOs also need to give themselves permission to assume the growth mantle. Being a modern, highly effective CMO means taking on ambitious ideas, unifying the C-suite, and transforming other leaders into champions of the marketing agenda.

But, CMOs cannot do it alone. CEOs will need to look at their role in supporting the CMO and whether the company’s operating model supports cross-functional collaboration. The rest of the C-suite will need to fully embrace the potential of marketing and see a CMO partnership as an opportunity to help drive growth and deliver real value for the organization. Ultimately, the C-suite needs to ask itself: Is the CMO empowered to function as a Unifier or is she destined to be a Loner or Friend?

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Diane von Furstenberg designs Limited-Edition Girl Scout Merchandise


How quick can luxury rebound from Covid-19?


Committing to climate-neutrality by 2050: EU Commission proposes European Climate Law and consults on the European Climate Pact 


Trevira at BCFA Open Berlin, Germany

PICANOL at AFRO STITCH & TEX in EGYPT (March 5-8, 2020)


HOKA ONE ONE launches a new Category Outside of Footwear

Johanna Ortiz Launches full Collection with H&M

In Paris, France, uncertainty overshadows sustainability and diversity


Gender Equality Strategy: Striving for a Union of equality in the EU


STDF’s spices value chain project goes live in India

Intellectual Property

MySize Receives notice of allowance from Russian Patent & Trademark Office for MySizeID Smart Measurement Solution


Reliance is launching an online luxury shopping portal in India


Itema Group announces appointment of Ugo Ghilardi as new CEO and moves towards a new stage

WTO chairpersons for 2020

Two new Directors-General for EU Commission departments in charge of financial services and human resources

Harley-Davidson, Inc. announces leadership changes


Game changers: recycling in polyolefins

As fashion churns out more ‘sustainable’ goods, why is so much made from plastic? 


New report details serious discrepancies and indications of illicit activity in International Trade


OECD Webinar on How is Life? Depends on your gender (March 20, 2020)

Women Power

Celebrating Women Power all month Long at Phoenix Marketcity Kurla in India