Marketing to Marketers in a Digital World

The role of the CMO has changed significantly over the past few years as we have seen transformative advancements in how to acquire, nurture and retain customers. This evolution has been even more dramatic in the digital media industry as most companies in our space are more direct sales reliant and marketing serves as more of a support function rather than a true driver of revenue growth.

I am particularly motivated at this moment in time because I see an extraordinary opportunity to define my own role as CMO and radically shifting the way we approach our marketing strategies.  Our clients are under more pressure than ever before to evolve their business models in order to succeed in today’s device-fragmented world.

IDC’s top three predictions for CMOs in 2014 (out of a list of 10) echo this theme, calling the role “open for definition” as “today’s CMO job description becomes considerably more complex and critical.” The CMO’s responsibilities are increasingly converging with the CEO as successful marketing is more valuable than ever to cut through the clutter and increase customer adoption and ultimately, revenue.

And, our opportunity was further reinforced in the IDC study which predicted that digital marketing investment will exceed 50% of total program budget by 2016…two years ahead of when eMarketer predicts digital advertising will surpass TV spend.

In a way, Interactive Media Holdings (IMH), and its brands, find themselves in a unique position. We are emerging from a period of rapid growth and acquisition and it is essential that we realign our go-to-market strategies to support the company’s evolution into a comprehensive provider of complete digital media solutions. The complexity of IMH and the various positions our brands currently take up across the Lumascape, has directly led to a need for the role of CMO.

And this is where I think we can move the needle the furthest.

As CMO, my primary focus will always be on driving revenue growth. But this will only be achievable through a combination of greater clarity across our brands and products – both internally and externally – and a more holistic approach to both strategic partnerships and advanced analytics.

The market is rapidly moving towards a “less waste” model, requiring a more clarity and precision. The audience targeting side of the business is also changing, moving away from probabilistic and moving toward deterministic or known audiences.  Measurement is also evolving from overvaluing proxy website actions toward true ROI metrics.  This is a lot for any company to contemplate.

Real change is usually difficult. And it’s not always popular. It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

In our industry, it is marketing that has to take on the responsibility of the unreasonable man – the force for driving change.

And if we are to position IMH, and our brands, at the forefront of marketing’s new shift to digital transformation, then so must we. It is only then that we will be able to take marketing from being simply a support function, to something that both drives and ultimately leads the revenue growth for our company.

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