Last week, a blog post by Ray Wang on the need for a shift from CMO to CDO—or Chief Digital Officer—brought about a considerable amount of healthy discussion within the walls of Waggener Edstrom.
In his post Wang convincingly posits that digital strategies supported by data—and the technologies that support them– are the foundation for the successful marketing department of tomorrow. As such, he argues, there is a need for a new type of C-Suite officer, the CDO, to ensure that seven technology-based attributes are executed as part of this progressive marketing department:
While I agree wholeheartedly about these attributes as being ‘must-do’s’, I disagree with the premise that this skill set should exist outside of the roles and responsibilities of the CMO and her marketing and communications department. While there might be short term benefits in having a separate digital excellence team outside the marketing department (like for instance if a team needed channel experts or data analysts and the existing marketing department was incapable), I would argue that this scenario would probably be an indication of bigger problems in your marketing organization. It might give you some short term relief but I believe it all but ensures some Antietam size turf wars in the very near future—likely condemning the marketing team to irrelevance without truly building a holistic alternative.
If digital is omnipresent—in this case meaning present across all elements of sales and marketing–from customer research to customer acquisition to customer support—then shouldn’t digital excellence just be table stakes for a CMO’s team? After all, the goal here is ‘marketing’, the goal isn’t ‘digital’. At this point if a CMO doesn’t have a team that can incorporate digital strategies and tactics into the all up marketing goals then your company’s in real hot water. On the flip-side of the same argument: if you’re a digital or social media marketer and not thinking how you can align your digital goals to the company’s bigger marketing efforts or at least enabling “traditional” marketing outcomes like sales, or driving to retail, then you’re missing opportunities, diluting your brand messaging and leaving money on the table.
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