The Emerging Role of the CMO

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Blog, Featured | 2 comments

The Emerging Role of the CMO

The B2C and B2B Buyer Controls the Sales Process

If you haven’t read IBM’s CMO Study it’s a core piece of research marketers should have sitting on their desks and on their screens. Over 1700 CMOs from a variety of verticals, sizes and geographies provide their views, opinions and insights about what keeps them up at night, their profession etc.

In this video, Brian Fethersonhaugh, CEO and Chairman of Ogilvy One provides you with a summary of the key findings from the report.

Key Points from the Video

  • Single most profound change is how buyers now control the buying process. This applies to B2B and B2C. We think that marketers need to educate buyers using content and find ways to connect with them before, during and after the purchase.
  • Over 1,000 sales reps were surveyed. Two thirds agreed that consumers no longer relied on sales people before they make a product purchases. Our advice is that sales needs to figure out how they can offer value during the buying process. Offering quality expertise, advice and saving someone time is a good start.
  • Consumers are often getting information themselves, but it’s not always the right information that marketers want them to know. We believe that this is a reality and something we marketers have to deal with. Produce quality content that is “read worthy” so you can compete with other sources of information.
  • Over half of the surveyed sales professionals mentioned earlier said they know that social media is important to their success. Among the top sales performers over two thirds believed social media as being important to their success. But, they said their companies were not giving them the training they needed in order to leverage social media to be successful. We’d suggest B2B companies start with a social media program pilot by forming a small team of people from sales, marketing, service and support. If you are a technology company Mi6 can help you with that.
  • Selling is changing because buying is changing. The sales funnel doesn’t work anymore, now it’s about the customer journey. Our job (sales and marketing) is to meet the customer on journey. Our advice is not to abandon the funnel concept. Just apply it to the new realities of how people buy.
  • Checking and tracking “digital body language” through keywords, sites buyers visit, and how they engage on social media helps define “purchase intent”. We’re not so sure companies are capable of doing this to be frank, especially from a B2B perspective. We simply don’t have time to look for the nuances of online behaviour let alone predict they mean and what the buyer will do. ┬áRemember, in complex sales, there are many people involved in the buying process. The key is to know who they are.
  • Using content as digital bate? We don’t like this analogy of fishing for buyers. We prefer that content be used to educate buyers about problems, how to solve them and to demonstrate and prove capabilities. These should create reasons why a buyer would want to connect, engage and express interest in doing business.
  • Constant and persistant communications is important in order to be heard and considered. We think this will result in more content (in some cases noise) being produced resulting in more competition for a buyers time. Marketers need to be extremely relevant and there will be increasing pressure to produce quality content.
  • Ecommerce and social media combined is introducing the concept of “social commerce”. In essence, leveraging social networks/communities, sharing, ratings, reviews and references in order to generate revenue. This is a space we find very interesting. If you’re in it let us know!

2 Responses to “The Emerging Role of the CMO”

  1. great summary and interesting points. Social commerce is surely the next big thing, as in this is what we all try to achieve, isn’t it? It is great for Ferrari to have gained a few million followers last year, however what really counts at the end of the day is to convert leads to sales. I am in B2B and any attempt in social media needs to have some measurable outcome – brand spread is not enough as we have a very specific and defined target group to reach. In other words, engagement is wanted with current and potential customers to support and or facilitate along the sales funnel (up or downstream). I found youtube and or video in general a great medium besides some general content marketing (mostly digital newsletter).

    • Markus, I agree with you that B2B marketers (should apply to B2C ones too but some seem exempt from having to measure ROI) need to focus on lead generation and conversion. The problem is really knowing for sure, what interaction with a prospective or current customer, actually converted a lead especially when it comes to complex sales (long sales/buying cycles and multiple persons involved in the decision/influencing process). My advice, for what it is worth, is to think more along the lines of developing relationships and connections with people within target accounts and influencers within target industries. This is a long term approach to developing business. Combine this strategy with very targeted and high value offers and call to actions that focuses on finding people who are in the buying process, hopefully early on in the process.


  1. Marketing Layoffs Equals Social Media ROI? | Mi6 - [...] available. They are in control of the sales/buying cycle. To learn more about this check out “The Emerging Role …

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