CMOs Struggling to Keep Up With Digital

A few weeks ago, an IBM study found that CMOs feel unprepared to address the digital nature of a social media world. To help with that, the North American CMO Conference, taking place November 17 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York will focus on the theme “How to Drive Growth in a Digital Age.”

Referencing the pace at which things change in the digital space, Benno Marbach, president of the Chief Marketing Officer Conference told us today, “It’s a very dynamic environment, the speed of change is accelerating, and it’s very tricky for any type of executive to handle, especially the CMOs.” This is particularly true because the CMO is responsible for the brand and its reputation, a place where digital has great impact.

Marbach said that PR should play an increased role in helping CMOs manage their responsibilities, particularly now that a more “integrated approach” is favored by marketers.

In times past, PR was a final stop on the marketing train, after the strategy had already been planned. “Now,” Marbach said, “PR is at the beginning.” In large part this is because of the skills they bring to a marketing plan.

“[PR pros have] an understanding of what’s happening in the media landscape, and they should share their view of what’s happening in the marketplace and how it will impact the brand,” he added.

Among the speakers at next week’s conference are Arun Sinha, CMO of Zurich Financial Services, and Antonio Lucio, CMO of Visa. The CMO Conference will take place in Singapore in June 2012 and in Zurich in September 2012.