The top 10 challenges Chief Marketing Officers face in their job

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOS) have a very challenging job as they need to be very cautious in dealing with the clients as a single wrong move can ruin their relationships with the client. They are primarily responsible to blend art with science by coping with the changing digital demands. The major challenges faced by them are:

  • Prior to the emergence of online stores, the staff in the retail outlets personally knew the customers and their choices. Due to this reason, they were able to provide the customers with such products that best suited to their tastes and fixed their problems easily. This ensured customer satisfaction as well as their loyalty.

Today in this digital era, the online stores are able to track the purchase history, tastes, and choices of a customer through data mining techniques.

Despite this, the CMOs face the problem of “personalization”. This is because though the technology has enabled us to accumulate a vast amount of data, the mindset behind a certain purchasing activity is tough to be interpreted.

For example, E-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay etc. can anticipate a consumer’s buying behavior by tracking its previous history. The amount of information present with the e-commerce about the consumer sites exceeds beyond that with a local store. Despite this, the e-commerce site can’t build personalized relationships with the customer like that of a local store staff. This is evident from the fact that the site is unaware of the reason behind a certain purchase done by the consumer.A person placing an order for a book may not help the website in knowing if he does so out of his own interest or for gifting someone.

Similar is the case with social networking sites like the Facebook, which have undoubtedly created a vast network of friends but lacks real communication.

  • Getting a higher return on investments(ROI) is one of the major challenges encountered by the CMO of companies. In this highly competitive era, there is a reduction in the product lifecycle and increase in the demands of the customers for instant solutions. The ultimate aim of any business is generating sales, without which all efforts are rendered futile.

For example,Marcellin, the CEO of Jupiter Networks says that he measures the company’s growth in terms of the customer’s inclination towards making purchases to match with the C-suite as well as qualified leads, social impressions and click rates.

  • The CMOs today have to consistently prove the value of marketing. They face the challenge of making sense of the vast amount of data available to them and binding the different marketing channels to demonstrate their activities. This has increased the importance of marketing automation tools to accomplish various tasks to demonstrate the value of marketing.

For example, Juniper Networks have made a change from its use of miscellaneous tools for automation and insight to a single cloud-based marketing environment, to provide customers with the deeper insights of the marketing values. Besides this, it also enabled the organization to set up a tangible framework for the transformation of the much-needed marketing skills. These investments have enabled the marketers to do the “state-of-art” marketing through the most advanced tools and techniques, leading to growth and development of the team as well as an effective recruitment tool for acquiring talent.

  • Striving to fill the vital skills gap is a major challenge for the CMOs. Since there is rapid digitization prevailing around, the new skills to face the new challenges of the digital era has to be imbibed by them. The need to get themselves adapted to the new technologies and thinking strategically about marketing is the key to stand out in the competitive market.

For example, the CMO of Neustar, Lisa Joy Rosner says that there is an acute shortage of data scientists and data analytics as well as the retention of current ones who can match the pace of the advancement of their organization, which has become a major


  • It is highly essential for marketers to have good relations with corporate partners. This is because a CMO can grow a business mainly through creation and execution of strategies in collaboration with the partners by working extensively on the product, distribution channels, and technology.

For example, Synchrony Financial has constituted 3 ” innovation stations” which are the cross-functional teams operating together to achieve customer-centric solutions.

Neustar’s CMO has laid the importance of their marketing working in collaboration with IT. Such collaborations with IT, sales and product organizations paves way for better, feasible strategies and reliable decisions taken at the right time and comes under the pre-decided budget.

  • Meeting the changing expectation of the customers is a huge challenge for the CMOs. The consumers not only expect relevant, consistent and informative content design but also better-personalized experiences through different available channels. To attain this the CMOs need to focus on technology and data besides their marketing activities. They need to be capable enough to analyze the available data and develop new concepts to attain brand loyalty of the customers.

For example, Fleischman, the CMO of Penn Mutual has created strategy that provides an integrated and meaningful omnichannel experience to enhance the level of personalization for the audience, advisors as well as the customers.

  • CMOs face the challenge to get the youth engaged in their activities to let them open up their mind to find creative ways to do any task. This has to be done as the present youth comprise a large section of the market, so the CMO needs to know their choice and taste to serve them better.

For example, Penn Mutual has partnered with Drexel University’s business school and recruited their students to know about the notion of youth regarding life insurance and to impart them knowledge regarding this for their better future. They are also asked about their requirements to know their generation better.

  • Due to the widely available sources like the user ratings, assessments, recommendations and warnings of their fellow groups, there are high chances that the customer would be distracted from the information provided by the marketer. So, it is a challenge for the CMO to divert the prospective customers towards the source of information provided by them.

For example, Peter Ruchatz, the CMO of Veeam says that this problem has been overcome them by using the successful investors as their advocates because the influence of other sources can’t be ignored.But the company can strengthen its own sources to make the users trust the brand and gain their loyalty by meeting all their needs which would in -turn reinforce the number of such sources for the company.

  • The CMOs need to find out ways to stay connected with the customers through conversations through the use of various digital tools and platforms. It may happen that the database with one tool is not compatible with another.

Sanjay Dholakia, the CMO of Marketo has found a way out for consistent interaction with a consumer through the maintenance of one customer interaction system of record. This provides details about the variations in activities of the customer on the company website, mobile app, email and social networking sites, which helps in establishing a consistent association with the customer.

  • The biggest challenge of the CMOS today is to make sure that all the core marketing teams located in various countries are on the same page and maintain a harmonious relation while keeping up with the rapid changes. This can be ensured through clear and regular communication and informal meetings between the product team, sales team, and the marketing teams.

For example, Jennifer Stagnaro the CMO of SugarCRM ensures that the core marketing teams in 6 countries share the information and teach the best practices to each other and organizes social events to let the members get to know each other personally.



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