The Cultural Impact of a Data-Driven CMO

Marketing Innovation

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The Cultural Impact of a Data-Driven CMO

Marketing Innovation

Colin Powell once famously said, “A good leader is someone whose people will follow him or her…if only out of curiosity.”

In the case of the modern, data-driven CMO, this feels particularly true, so we teamed up with the CMO Club to survey and interview four CMOs to talk about the challenges and opportunities of marketing.

In the eBook created by the CMO Club in partnership with LiveRamp, CMO Solution Guide: Making Data-Driven Marketing Work’, a big theme that kept coming up was the power of data to make an impact.

Indeed, the data-driven CMO’s cultural impact is as important as their operational impact, and the two are intrinsically tied to one another in at least three central aspects of marketing.


Strategically, testing makes a lot of sense.

From an operational point of view, the CMO’s challenge is all about implementing new processes that give marketers the budget, time, and freedom they need to both test and learn from their actions.

From a cultural point of view, it’s all about making sure your people are rewarded for their willingness to test and learn. That means establishing a culture of continual learning where new ideas are welcome and failures aren’t treated like the end of the world.

“One of the things that we’re very much into is always testing, testing, testing. We have a culture here that allows for continual learning.”

– Colin Hall, Chief Marketing Officer and GM International Business, Allen-Edmonds Shoe Corporation

Continuous Optimization

“Everything you do online today, you’re constantly refining. Every ad, every campaign, every single thing is constantly being optimized on almost a daily basis because of the data we have today.”

– Julie Garlikov, Vice President of Marketing and Retail Sales, Nuvesse Skin Therapies

Testing without a willingness to constantly iterate and improve is pointless, so constant optimization is a defining characteristic of marketing.

ROI-Driven Accountability

An inherent accountability for ROI and efficiency is something today’s CMOs have to deal with in a way that previous CMOs didn’t.

Culturally, the CMO becomes responsible for socializing the impact marketing’s making and prioritizing the outcomes everyone should be going after.

This is especially important when you have to choose between conflicting outcomes, such as the efficiency of your overall program and experimenting with new tactics.

“It’s the business outcomes that everyone wants to get to. The challenge is how to get there in a way that balances cost, speed to market, and the underlying complexity of your project architecture for marketing.”

– Brian Hovis, Senior Vice President, Digital Marketing for North America Bank and Mortgage, Citigroup

Next Steps

Read CMO Solution Guide: Making Data-Driven Marketing Work, it’s full of great advice, practical lessons, and case studies from real marketing leaders driving real change in their organizations.