CMO responsibilities and skills are changing

In today's post-recession business world, the CMO's job description has changed dramatically.

In today's post-recession business world, the CMO's job description has changed dramatically. It was always a tough job, but it's more complicated now, requiring knowledge across a broader range of disciplines and functions.

Positioning and messaging used to be something one did every two to three years, sometimes even less frequently. In today's cutthroat environment, positioning can often be refreshed every six to 12 months, as competitors are acquired, as new companies enter the market more rapidly, and as customer loyalties are quicker to shift.

This requires the CMO to constantly be looking at what is happening in the market, to anticipate change, and to be proactive in crafting new messaging.

Today's CMO has to understand the behaviors and habits of more audiences that are highly fragmented and more global than in years past. Who are they? Where are they, and how are they influenced? Where do they get their information? And which new audiences are on the horizon and which ones are fading?  

The most critical new skill for the CMO is to understand how to communicate to and engage with all of these disparate audiences, when they want and the way they want it, through the social networks and communities they like, such as online, mobile, print and broadcast media, and everything in between. 

Each medium and channel requires a different strategy, function, and form.

The CMO must embrace the new social web as a means for every constituent to engage with a company. This means knowing which tools to use and which rules to support everyone from the C-suite to employees, customers, shareholders, and partners.  

Today's CMO must have much tighter collaboration with the CFO, particularly in publicly-traded companies, where financial matters are highly scrutinized, and messaging becomes even more important.

Sabrina Horn is the president and CEO of the Horn Group.

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