Four As of the modern marketing organisation

01 Aug 2017

  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Digital Marketing

If one thing’s clear from the way marketing leaders are experimenting with in-house skills, role responsibilities and cross-functional collaboration, it’s that there’s no one organisational model every CMO can adopt to successfully adjust to the new world of customer-led marketing.

But according a report from The CMO Club, there are four emerging pillars underpinning successful modern marketing functions. The CMO Solution Guide for Building a Modern Marketing Organisation report, produced by the member-based organisation in partnership with Oracle Marketing Cloud and marketing agency nFusion, set out to investigate the organisational structure and skillsets needed to transform marketing functions for next-gen marketing. The research was based on interviews with more than 20 leading CMOs in the US.

Four key themes were identifies as increasingly informing organisational decisions: acumen, alignment, agility and accountability.


These are the new core skillsets required to cope with the rise of digital, data and technology-fuelled marketing. Ten capabilities were identified by marketers: Customer insights, digital marketing, social media, integrated engagement planning, content development, evaluative analytics, predictive analytics, customer data management, marketing technology planning and implementation, and innovation planning.

The CMO Club founder and CEO, Peter Krainik, notes many of these skillsets wouldn’t have been on marketing’s radar five years ago. But they’ve become vital as CMOs strive to understand and influence the wider customer decision journey. In particular, there’s a rise in analytics skills that help with “quick response, learning and monitoring” of tactical activities, as well as understanding and informing growth strategies and decisions with the customer in mind.


It’s particularly critical marketing teams can partner from top to bottom and across every business function in order to effectively engage customers across all touchpoints. Key functions marketing must collaborate with include sales, IT, dedicated digital functions and customer service.

Kimberly-Clark CMO, Clive Sirkin, who was quoted in the report, says alignment has to happen on multiple levels – from business model and brand plan, to foundational tools and strategy across divisions globally.

“The last level of alignment is how our teams are going to work together as one team to execute on that plan,” Sirkin states. “You can image if you are off at any one of these levels, the further you are into the organisation, the greater the gap is. So we try to talk as an organisation about the impact of what we are doing, even as to how that impacts at each level of the organisation.”


The days of setting up a marketing campaign or strategy and seeing it through are gone. Test-and-learn, iteration and optimisation and pivoting quickly are vital. That requires not only team agility, but again, cross-functional collaboration.

The report highlights four key ways of bringing agility into teams:
Establishing funds for experimentation; forming empowered cross-functional teams, developing test-and-learn programs, and modeling decisive behaviour.


This is a reflection of the increased pressure CMOs are under to demonstrate the return on investment in marketing and their effectiveness.

The report advises marketing leaders to instill a culture of personal accountability, ensuring the right measures and goals are in place. Key is establishing the right measures and reporting on them, as well as keeping everyone aligned to top-level goals through strong brand values and business objectives.

Key is establishing the right measures and reporting on them, as well as keeping everyone aligned to top-level goals through strong brand values and business objectives.

Discover more in the Building the skillsets required for the modern marketing function whitepaper.

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