The New Definition of a CMO

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In recent years, business models have shifted to be more customer centric. The success of an organization is often in the hands of its consumers, whose voice is now louder due to technology and the interconnectedness of the world. This also means that a brand’s reputation and response to consumer feedback is now more powerful and holds more stake than ever before.

At the center of this evolution is a group of people who are responsible for building, protecting and conveying the true message of their organization – the chief marketing officers. Alongside the shift in consumers’ voices has been a shift in the CMO role. One that has evolved to become a leader in the strategic development of customer experiences. This shift isn’t expected to slow down. A 2019 survey conducted by Accenture found that 90% of CEOs and CMOs agree that the CMO role will change fundamentally over the course of the next three years.

As my peers and I face the opportunity to transform our role, there are three areas that I believe are crucial under the direction of a CMO: innovation, reputation and distribution. A CMO that can carefully foster and partner to grow these areas has the power to not only help their organization thrive but also connect with consumers in a way that builds loyal, long-term relationships.


Deloitte recently analyzed the expanding scope of the CMO, dividing the governing responsibilities into five categories – one of which being an innovation catalyst. In recent years, while the term innovation has become a buzzword across many industries and business sectors, what it means at its core is at the base of any good marketing strategy. We are responsible for identifying and developing new ways to drive growth and profitability for our organization.

While each department of an organization takes on the task of innovating their products and/or services to be the next best thing, as marketers, we are responsible for applying it to our customers, placing value on their needs and delivering and tailoring the message to them on the platform easiest for them.


Maintaining a favorable reputation is a 24/7 responsibility. Today’s consumers have a voice and they want to use it, whether it be to show support for an organization or to offer advice and feedback. Having a strong, defined brand has become one of the most profitable assets while also being the most risk averse asset for a business.

It is increasingly important that companies take an honest and human approach to managing their reputation. Customers value authenticity and transparency, and they want to support organizations that give back and whose mission aligns with their personal values and views.


One of the most basic, yet important, premises of what we do as CMOs is drive enhanced customer experiences. We are responsible for delivering the messaging and benefits of products and services to our stakeholders.

Distribution may be defined differently depending on the organization. In the insurance industry, our distribution process is tied closely to communication and relationships. Communicating with our agent and broker partners to help determine and solve business needs is important. Building relationships with partners, ensuring we know the needs of their business becomes one of our primary concerns.

It is important to understand that distribution is a key driver of how an organization is able to service its clients and/or partners. It’s a give and take relationship where the success of a distribution strategy can then be tied to the overall performance of a business.

Innovation, reputation and distribution are just a handful of the tenets we, as marketers, should hold high. By striving to be great in these three areas, we can drive significant change in our organizations, our industries and our communities – all while establishing meaningful relationships with our customers.

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