As more engagements today are reported on digital platforms than in the real world, the role of chief digital marketing officers (CDMO) is gaining more prominence and versatility. Here are six ways you can be an effective and successful CDMO.
COVID-19 had put several economies into crisis. Businesses were one of the worst sufferers who are still struggling to gain back their grounds. On the other hand, as the world went under the pandemic-induced lockdown, it pushed the global population towards smartphones and internet adoption. A Statistica’s report puts this number at 4.66 billion (59.5% of the global population), as of January 2021. They use this medium to learn, communicate, interact and even make their buying decisions online. In fact, companies found it to be an interesting playground to connect and play along with their target customers. Hence, they started investing heavily in various digital platforms.
Look at these statistics that further underline the trend: 72% of marketing chiefs felt that the importance of marketing has grown in their companies over the last year (The CMO Survey), and consumers, globally, had spent $900 billion more at online retailers in 2020 compared to prior two-year trend (Mastercard Economics Institute). All this has pushed marketers across industries to exponentially increase their digital spend on transformation and online campaigns.
Similarly, eMarketer predicted that the global digital ad spend is to increase by 17%, reaching $389 billion in 2021 and will reach $526.17 billion by 2024. This growth has propelled and carved a larger space for digital marketing officers to play. Today, a Chief Digital Marketing Officer (CDMO) is responsible for leading all digital and marketing functions for the company. Though it’s not a new role created in the business ecosystem, it has, however, changed drastically since the pandemic.
Transformation of the CDMO role
Sidhartha Sidharth, Deputy Director – Marketing, MediaTek India, explained, “With the evolution of technology and new-age customer requirements, the role of CDMOs has transformed. Addressing the altering dynamics of accelerated digital transformation during the pandemic falls under the CDMO’s Key Result Area (KRA), and we need to create personalised consumer experiences and align existing tactics to fully utilise mobile and digital platforms for a truly omnichannel customer service experience”.
According to Shetty Shetty, Senior Vice President, Operations and Marketing, Germin8, the role “has changed quite a bit in terms of coverage”. “There are many more platforms and spaces where the audience is talking and engaging, in terms of where they are spread,” he said.
- Optimise existing go-to-market strategies and internal processes
A CDMO’s role is beyond just designing digital campaigns. It includes the challenge to optimise existing go-to-market strategies and internal processes, apart from driving market effectiveness and sharing marketing best practices to ensure the right marketing strategy is in place. Shetty said, “It’s important for a CDMO to take a step back before carrying out marketing, that step would be identifying where the audience is and understanding the pulse, listening to the audience, to what they are saying. I think it is smart to do that; it’s RoI based marketing. A CDMO needs sharp and actionable insights from her/his analytics or the Operational Risk Management (ORM) team to be able to make the right decision and investments.”
- Be more agile in your approach
As the landscape of the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) continues to evolve, CDMOs need to be more agile and aggressive in their approach. “Marketing and communication strategies must address the challenges associated with a changing socio-economic and business environment and stay relevant and resilient at the same time,” said Sidharth. “It is time CDMOs evolve parallelly. For instance, LinkedIn suddenly became critical post-pandemic when people started losing jobs during the lockdown. They not just started networking but transformed the professional networking platform into an aggressive marketing platform for B2B clients”.
Shetty added, “While it continues to grow and be even more important for brands, it could be something else tomorrow.” He continued, “People are not only searching but also putting out opinions more often and making decisions based on others’ opinions as well. Moreover, the attention span is ridiculously at an all-time low for people, thanks to Tik Tok and the likes that followed. So, the question and the key is to be one up to adapt to the new patterns of communication. Also, the key is to have the right tools to be able to identify trends, patterns and manage the scale. Narrow it down to the ones (platforms and messaging) that matter and will work for the brand.”
- Adopt a holistic 360-degree marketing strategy
CDMOs are responsible for constantly engaging with the consumers, maintaining consistent interactions across different channels that are a strategic mix of digital, virtual and in-person communication. “In the hybrid new era, CDMOs must adopt a holistic 360-degree marketing strategy leveraging a strategic mix of traditional and new-age marketing channels to reach the consumers with relevant information and enhanced experiences,” said Sidharth. “Consumer habits are undergoing sudden shifts due to the changing life patterns and personalising the experience for them is becoming increasingly important.”
- Engage in meaningful communication with the customers
CDMOs are entrusted with cementing brand identity and have better engagement with the audience, even if they are not their potential buyers. This requires a lot of creativity and top-of-the-mind thinking because they need to create more interactive digital sessions with the audience for them to come back again and further become a loyal buyer. Shetty said that CDMOs can achieve this by being more meaningful with the communication with the audience, and really mean it too. “More often than not, all brands want to do everything topical; ‘Me too’ techniques, robotic engagement,” he said. “Only a few brands understand the power of engagement and if it’s done well. For instance, when was the last time your brand did not post a non-template response on social media? Can you make one reply really different from the other? When was the last time your brand answered in the language the user is writing in, let’s say in Tamil?”
- Provide a winning content experience
As engagement becomes critical, CDMOs need to explore and exploit every possible way to provide a winning content experience. Sidhartha added, “The key to success in the current competitive business landscape is for brands to capture the trust and attention of consumers by providing a truly captivating and engaging content experience. Our strategy is to re-engage with existing customers through channels like newsletters, social media, native content, and other in-person interactions while also striving to imbue confidence among new customers.”
- Invest in building your brand reputation
In fact, today CDMOs have earned an important place in the boardroom and an important role in revenue decision making. Shetty explained, “However, there are investments you make in building brand reputation over time. Investing in strong ORM practices and partners, solid social media response teams, etc. may not directly show revenue but go a long way in helping users make that decision when it comes to choosing between brands.”
So how should the CDMOs prepare to fit in this new changing but dynamic role? Shetty had an answer to it. “By really making sure that I’m catching up on all trends and patterns through some solid insights from the team and working with the right tools. Also, be humble enough to realize that things on the digital side can shape really fast and keep pace with those changes.”