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2022: CMOs emerge as emboldened business leaders

28th Oct 2021
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Yes, marketing has reason to flex. A confluence of growth pressure, politics, purpose, and the pandemic generated business turbulence this past year that tested B2C CMOs’ agility and their ability to innovate. Many met the moment with new delivery models, brand experiences, and comms strategies to navigate the shutdown and cultural volatility. The result? Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey reveals that 92% of US B2C marketing executives believe that their CEOs fully support the marketing function. 

But not all CMOs are created equal — it’s the leader behind the CMO title who makes or breaks it. Forrester sees 2022 as a tale of two CMOs: Some with the CMO title will continue to be sidelined by the likes of another chief “something” officer — relegated only to the subset of marketing involving brand and promotion — while elite CMOs (those with data, martech, customer experience, and product chops) will capitalize on this moment in time to duly expand their remit across the marketing mix. In 2022, CMOs will strike back and emerge as emboldened business leaders. Forrester predicts that: 

  • Five high-profile CMOs will expand their remit. Data from Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey portends a critical 2022 for the B2C CMO, where data strategy and innovation rank as the top two marketing priorities. CEOs who hire and empower the right CMO will have an able and accountable marketing leader who might also become a suitable successor. To earn the CEO’s confidence, the CMO must first and foremost deliver on customer-obsessed marketing
  • Commerce will catalyze 35% of CMOs into CX leaders. In 2022, more CMOs will own or influence online commerce. Forrester predicts that 35% of B2C marketing functions will be responsible for customer experience (CX) — a number that’s been slowly rising, from 24% in 2019 to 26% in 2020 to 28% in Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey. But that’s about to change as the digital divide vanishes. Because all customer experiences are brand experiences, CMOs must ensure that the brand interconnects the “anywhere commerce” experience. 
  • Over half of CMOs will make EX essential to brand planning. We’re predicting that employee experience (EX) budgets will grow next year, bringing about a formal partnership between the CMO and CPO/CHRO — understanding the brand implications that are at stake. Nearly half (48%) of marketing leaders who responded to Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey indicated that improving EX will be a strategic area of focus over the next two years. As brand-building leaders, CMOs are best suited to contribute to the employee experience by enlisting their HR partner in EX collaboration. 
  • Four in 10 CMOs will bolster their in-house agencies’ remit from execution to creation. In 2022, fewer in-house agencies will be relegated to the table scraps left by their external creative agencies. Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey shows that 44% of US B2C marketing executives plan to move more agency work to their in-house teams in 2022. Driven by cost and process efficiencies, CMOs will lean on their in-house agencies to take on more high-profile assignments as part of the blended partner management model. 

Learn more about Forrester’s predictions here.

This post was written by Vice President, Research Director Mike Proulx and it originally appeared here.

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