The Cojones to Create Change

It’s an incredible time to be a marketer. And, yes, the reports of the death of the CMO has been greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mr. Clemens, with CMO tenure rising to 45 months (60 months at tech firms).

Two Seismic Forces for Modern Marketers

At a basic level all new marketers are hired to create change, to take a new approach to impact the business and not to babysit the status quo. But today two fundamental shifts are changing the role of the marketer, ratcheting up the opportunity as well as the challenge to become an agent for change in your organization.

First, the customer decision journey has changed. How we discover, learn and share information about things we buy and use is different. Deep access to transparent data about products and services and our ability to become citizen-publishers (yes, even if it’s as mundane as an Instagram Like) has put us in the driver’s seat in our relationship with brands. Social and mobile are driving most of this – this isn’t a revelation in itself, but the pace of change, particularly with mobile, is leaving many brands behind. For complex decisions nearly 60% of the purchase decision is made prior to engaging a sales team (some note, correctly, that this stat oversimplifies things and that your mileage will vary based on the complexity of the purchase). Regardless, the bottom line is that customers are actively engaged in their decision journey way, way before they stumble across your website or owned content, and you need to get to it and actively engage customers with relevant content at the right time and place.

Second, there’s been an explosion of software applications to help marketers solve some of these challenges, doubling from 947 to 1,876 since 2014, with an incredible landscape spanning free social analytics tools to enterprise marketing cloud platforms. This is a bad-news, good-news thing. For some marketers, including many old-school execs without #MarTech DNA, this is terrifying. For others it’s an opportunity. A chance to leverage data and automation to innovate, to deliver incredible customer experiences and otherwise disrupt their marketplace. For most, the app explosion has spurred demand for the “Unicorn”, the tech-savvy marketer skilled in both creativity and data.

Five Ways to Create Change

To celebrate bold marketers, we created the Cojones Awards.  The 16 finalists in this year’s class each represent marketing change agents who have shown courage, ingenuity and spirit to deliver remarkable results for their organizations.

Tweet-2-Vote your favorite by midnight Tuesday, March 3 and join more that 1,400 others who have already raised their hands to help select the winners. We’ll announce the winners on Saturday, March 14 in Austin, doing our part to kick off SXSW.

For the Cojones Awards, we looked at five ways that a modern marketer can create change. Pick one, take a look at your marketing situation and create some change.

1. Inspire: to build authentic brands with a sense of purpose.

2. Be Bold: to disrupt the status quo and break out of the sea of sameness.

3. Connect: to deliver meaningful, cross-channel customer experiences.

4. Innovate: to implement new ways of engaging customers living a digital lifestyle.

4. Transform: to build organizational capabilities to become modern marketers.