Being a CMO Can Be a Thankless Position at Times. Here's How to Make the Most of It

Chief marketing officers often have the shortest lifespan of any in the C-suite

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CMOs got some good news this year: their average tenure increased from 42 to 44 months. The bad news is that they still have one of the shortest lifespans in the C-suite.

The fate of many marketing leaders increasingly rests on their ability to build successful growth engines. Not surprisingly, improving ROI has become an even more urgent priority as a result. In order to make the most of every dollar, CMOs are placing greater emphasis on reducing waste and improving efficiency as priority number one.

However, without putting data at the center of this growth strategy, the CMO revolving door will continue spinning at the same concerning rate. Let’s break down two ways CMOs can quickly boost their tenure by more effectively integrating data into their marketing decisions.

Grow by doing less

Marketing leaders must evolve their growth strategy so that data is at the center of all their decisions and leverage data-driven insights that enable them to do much more with much less.

One way to translate marketing efficiency in today’s data-driven world is to not waste marketing dollars on trying to sell to people who are either existing customers or who have no interest in or need for your product. The industry has considerable room for improvement in eliminating this type of marketing waste. In a recent survey, 78 percent of CMOs said it is “inexcusable” for consumers to keep receiving ads for products they already bought, yet 88 percent of consumers report seeing digital ads that fit this exact profile.

Removing these groups from your target audiences is a proven way to cut down on these inefficiencies, as is curbing your media reach to only include likely buyers. Capping how often your ad is shown, another way to save, also prevents annoying would-be customers with too many ads, which instead of driving sales contributes to a negative brand perception. P&G, which famously slashed its ad budgets by hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to curb digital waste, found it was delivering as many as 20 ads each month to consumers but only needed to reach the average person three times per month to meet its goals.

None of these are particularly new techniques, but what is new is the ability to execute them on a people-based level across devices and platforms. Instead of relying on anonymous customer identifiers (e.g., device IDs, cookies), you can now know the person you’re reaching in a privacy-compliant manner across the web.

Grow by doing more

With improved efficiencies, you can direct these savings toward increasing the effectiveness of your marketing. P&G, for example, reinvested its savings from reduced ad frequency to increase media reach in China and other priority markets. Consider re-deploying these dollars into more channels to reach higher-value audiences. For instance, 18- to 35-year-olds present a challenge for marketers due to cord-cutting and the need to reach this hyper-connected audience across multiple devices. With an omnichannel view of these consumers, you can reach this critical audience in a more strategic, cost-effective manner in the connected channels where they spend most of their time.

Cost savings also provide opportunities to invest more in testing and measurement. The ability to test and measure at the individual level versus a particular device enables a deeper, more actionable understanding of your consumers. It also reduces the time from several months to several weeks to learn, enhancing your ability to conduct in-market testing more quickly and cost-effectively.

Embrace a data-driven growth strategy

CMOs chiefly responsible for driving business growth often find themselves facing a ticking clock, with a pressing need to demonstrate value quicker than ever. Relying on antiquated strategies divorced from data to improve ROI will never yield meaningful results (and sustained employment). Marketing leaders must evolve their growth strategy so that data is at the center of all their decisions and leverage data-driven insights that enable them to do much more with much less.