The priorities for CMOs in 2023


By Donovan Neale-May, CMO Council CEO. CMOs today need to align and adapt marketing organisations, programs and spend, to have ‘elasticity’ and ‘agility’ in a gyrating economy. They must anticipate demand chain shifts and act preemptively using real-time, forensic data analysis. They need to become the authority on growth strategies, revenue leakage/recovery, pricing/margin upside, opportunity conversion, transactional gain, and customer value building.

Retailing Africa sent questions to Neale-May to find out what global CMOs would be focusing on in the coming year:

 What will/should CMOs leave behind in 2022?

Poorly conceived and executed campaigns with superficial branding promises and trite ‘purpose’ claims that are not ingrained in the organisational culture/DNA, or delivered on by channel partners and the aftermarket ecosystem. In particular, discarding gerrymandered ‘soft’ measures of campaign performance and business value.

What support do CMOs need from their CEOs and how to strategise to get it?

Understanding that the purpose of business is to satisfy and gratify customers, CEOs are essential to unifying and galvanising all corporate stakeholders around the mission of becoming an ‘alert, customer-intuitive enterprise’. This can only be done through joint CEO-CMO leadership in driving digital transformation, AI-powered data utilisation, continuous product innovation, and bringing scale, intimacy and individuality to connected customer interaction.

What do you think is the biggest challenge CMOs will face in 2023?

Multiplying CMO strategic authority, influence and credibility in the organisation. Retaining ownership of critical responsibilities that are seeing erosion from ‘chief’ title encroachment in the areas of digital, data, revenue, growth, relationships, CX, innovation and insight. Building multi-functional leadership and teams within the Office of the CMO that will evidence clear and measurable revenue growth, customer value and brand preference from marketing spend and automation investments.

What disruptive market conditions will CMOs face around the globe?
  • New web-native category innovators and contenders.
  • Local and regional business hardships, headaches and headwinds.
  • Multi-cultural consumerism and the blended household shift.
  • Sizing, segmenting and engaging with the world’s informal economy.
  • Growth of social chat commerce and new payment options.
  • Conflict, political instability, trade and supply chain complications.
  • Climate consternation and ESG compliance measurement.
  • Natural disaster and viral incident response and recovery.
  • Regulatory/trade restriction or limitation (e.g., banning of cigarette sales in New Zealand).



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