While much has been written about marketing’s need to demonstrate value, collaborate with key cross-functional peers (e.g., CFO and CIO), and connect better with CEOs, little has been written about how CEOs can do a better job of leveraging marketing by asking the right questions of their CMOs. What follows is insight from David Johnston, Chief Operating Officer for Aimia, a global data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company.

Q: Why should CEOs get more involved in marketing?

A: CMOs are at a crossroads, the intersection of the age of data and the age of the customer, creating both a unique challenge and opportunity. Companies have access to more data, allowing them to really understand who their best customers are, what they want, and how to build long-term relationships with them.

However, because of this, CMOs tread a line between not getting enough out of the data that exists, and using it in ways that compromise customer relationships, trust and corporate reputation. This is a leading reason behind why it’s important for CEOs to ask the right questions of their CMOs. The twinned increase in both commercial potential and reputational risk that come with that data mean that the CEO has to understand far more about the CMO’s role than before.

With respect to why CEOs should care, the answer is simple. Today’s consumers are quite savvy and their ability to identify when an organization is taking the time to use their personal data effectively is rather strong. They will continue to gravitate to those organizations that make an effort to offer and individualized experience, both in the offers and rewards that they get and customer service. Some companies will simply get left behind. In a day and age where CEOs and CMOs are being evaluated on their ability to generate sustainable ROI, these questions are of paramount importance.
Q: How can CEOs get more involved? What are the key questions CEOs should ask CMOs?

1. Who are our best customers, how do they want us to communicate with them, and how are we personalizing their experience?

2. What do we know about the customers that we have lost in the last 30 days?

3. How do you measure the impact of marketing/digital spend and how does it impact sales?