The 5 Skills Every CMO Needs to Thrive in Today’s Environment

Even though every company and every industry is different, there are universal skills every CMO needs to thrive in today’s business climate. Below, we highlight the five most important skills for CMOs to acquire in the pursuit of success this year, next year, and  beyond.

Skill #1? Be adept at data 

Every CMO knows the importance of data, but many still struggle to translate good data into good decisions. For that reason “be adapt at data” is the first—and the most important—of the 5 skills every CMO needs.   

The sheer volume of customer data available to CMOs is well-beyond daunting. As such, marketing leaders can find themselves struggling to not only aggregate data from disparate sources, but extract intelligent, actionable insights. That last piece is important because, at the end of the day, data is only as good as what the CMO can do with it. 

To be truly adept, CMOs must find the right combination of tools and technologies to support their efforts. Solutions that make it possible to do things like monitor critical consumer signals in real-time, or blend third-party inputs with owned data to form more effective marketing strategies.  

Skill #2? Practice personalization 

No CMO should underestimate the importance of personalization going forward. By creating campaigns and crafting messages that are enriched with elements of personalization, CMOs can take their brands to soaring new heights. 

Today’s consumers expect to be recognized by the brands they patronize as more than a shopper. They expect to be viewed as individuals. And as individuals, consumers want brand interactions tailored to reflect their lifestyle choices. Therefore, the modern CMO needs to constantly consider how personalization can improve how their brand uses personalized engagements to better connect with customers. 

Practicing personalization means going beyond basics like first name tokens and retargeting ads. Personalization needs to permeate as many elements of the customer journey as possible—from the top of the funnel, to the point of sale, to the post-sale, customer service experience. Neglecting to incorporate personalization into every layer of the customer journey will make both acquisition and retention more difficult long term. 

Skill #3? Improve proficiency in AI and Machine Learning 

The value of artificial intelligence and machine learning shouldn’t be lost on any CMO. Both AI and machine learning are critical to leveraging large data sets with speed and efficiency, which supercharges CMO decision making. 

Having said that, CMOs can’t afford to be carefree in choosing AI-powered platforms or solutions backed by machine learning—all choices are not created equal. To be discerning, CMOs must know the pros and cons of all solutions and platforms available to them. Robust and detailed knowledge of the space is the only way to ensure the right solution is chosen to help a brand achieve its marketing goals. 

Skill #4? Always be leveling up 

The role of CMO—not unlike the state of the marketing industry at large—is always evolving. To keep up with the pace of change, every C-suite marketer should make a point of consistently pursuing personal development.    

In particular, CMOs should focus on personal development exercises and experiences that will:

  • Expand their technical skillset
  • Improve their industry foresight
  • Enhance their strategic storytelling abilities
  • Elevate their approach to people management and leadership

Of course, the above is by no means an exhaustive list. The skills necessary for a CMO are as diverse as the industries they navigate. However, the CMOs who make a habit of leveling up will be the CMOs who achieve the most long term.

Skill #5? Be a Swiss army knife

Of the many skills every CMO needs to maximize their professional success, being a Swiss army knife is perhaps the most challenging. Why? Because it requires proficiency in a number of fields that don’t naturally relate to marketing. The smartest, savviest CMOs are also technologists, HR professionals, copywriters, and more. This versatility is what makes the best CMOs so adept at building teams and executing strategies that move the needle in a big way. 

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