8 Digital Transformation Concerns CMOs Need to Address in 2019

Written by Sharoon Emmanuel

Interconnected shifts in the digital landscape and consumer behavior is giving a tough time to businesses across the globe and marketing professionals know for sure that change is constant. To cope with the ever-changing demands of the industry, CMOs are required to navigate the dwindling ships of their businesses.

Owing to consumer demands in terms of experiences driven by digitalization, CMOs are reconsidering their marketing strategies and implementing innovation-led practices to stay ahead of the curve. As a marketer of the digital space, professionals come across many barriers which are important to overcome in order to transform business operations digitally.

From enhancing digital marketing channels to discovering creative ways to develop unparalleled experiences for customers, organizations and c-suite professionals are adopting digital transformation. Due to this massive wave of innovation, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are finding themselves on the front lines to lead the implementation of digital transformation initiatives. The process of completely transforming systems and processes though seems alluring, it often requires creative thinking, strategic prioritization and a big vision. And, whenever plans are big, so are the hurdles.

Today we’ll be discussing the most common obstacles that CMO’s are likely to face in their role and how they can overcome them.

Concern No. 1: A Change-Resisting Culture

Digital transformation can be successful only in a collaborative culture and where it is adopted on a mass scale. Marketing teams who adopt leading practices, agile techniques and structures can easily amplify their capabilities to better support their digital transformation needs.

Though CMOs are required to work across boundaries and explore new ideas, they sometimes feel helpless because organizations are stuck in a change-resistant culture.

Chief Marketing Officers aiming to develop a digital culture should start off small. In the initial phase of transformation, they should be able to define a digital mindset, assemble a CoE and encourage the development of a new culture.

Also Read: Digital Maturity Explained: The Road to Transformation in the Digital Realm

Concern No. 2: Customer Experience Augmentation

Experience is one of the most important things CMOs strive to achieve. Digitalization of an organization happens on many levels impacting internal processes, product development, operations, marketing, staff, vendors, stakeholders and most importantly customers. It is important for CMOs to make strategic decisions that specifically focus on customer experience.

In order to enhance customer experience, CMOs need to take a systematic and measurable approach to the customer experience and their relationship to digital initiatives. Also, they would need to understand how digital improvements will help to create better customer experiences.  

Concern No. 3: Sharing and Collaboration

Unwillingness to share and collaborate is a major challenge across the board. Because of ownership issues, priorities, and processes, people become reluctant to share their knowledge. Digital innovation however with its collaborative cross-functional teams differs a lot from what employees are accustomed to in regards to functions and hierarchies.

In the early stages, CMOs should find areas where interests overlap so that a starting point can be created.

Concern No. 4: Justifying the ROI of Digital Transformation

CMOs being the advocates for change and digital transformation within the organization are also responsible for demonstrating ROI. A CMO survey conducted in 2014 shows that only 36% of Chief Marketing Officers felt that they had convinced for digital transformation and only 29% were able to demonstrate the long-term value. To make a strong case, CMOs must have high-level insights into which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are vital for business.

Chief Marketing Officers are required to convince stakeholders on how the continued digital evolution will help to achieve long term goals. They can do that by focusing on metrics for productivity, market share, and costs.

Related: - Programmatic Advertising Agency in UAE

Concern No. 5: Going Mobile

Owing to the massive inclination of consumers towards mobile, common process such as shopping and banking have transited to digital devices. CMOs need to understand that catering modern consumers requires mobile adoption as it will not only add to their customer’s convenience but would also streamline their operations and increase ROI.

CMOs can start off by consulting the mobility teams to impact their customer’s engagement, interaction and journey. After developing a viable mobile solution, they can finally go on to develop monitoring programs that allow continuous measurement and optimization.

Related: - Mobile application development services in UAE

Concern No. 6: Talent Gap

CMO’s role in creating customer-centric and digitally informed experiences revolves around blending people, processes and technology to create better and streamlined business workflows. In order to fill up the talent gap, the C-suite marketing officials can empower people by providing them skills focused on analytics, innovation, data, change and creativity along with raising their own bar by acquiring knowledge of technologies that would drive the future.

The formula for digital success works around two approaches — upskill and bimodal. In smaller or more innovative companies, the upskill approach works best as it aims to redefine roles by including more skills and competencies needed to support digital. In larger organizations, using a bimodal approach makes sense as it creates a totally separate team to handle innovation with the requisite skill set.

Concern No. 7: Data Flow Management and Insights

Owing to the massive flux of digitalization, CMOs must step into Big Data territories. To ensure success in the long run, the amount of information (data) generated by systems need to be turned into insights.

Digital mature companies see data at the core of everything they do. Having rapid access to real-time market feedback, website analytics, and other sources of information can help CMOs understand the efficiency and required optimization of their efforts.

Utilizing insights CMOs can refine productivity and set a clear analytical agenda to analyze the success of digital initiatives and make adjustments to plans for future development.

Related: Data Science Services in UAE

Concern No. 8: Accelerated Marketing


The advancements in technology have led to shorter product lifecycles meaning less time to market and more areas to address.  For CMOs to always stay ahead of their game, process optimization and automation are required. For them, doing more with less and continuous rethinking marketing strategies and ensuring least delay is the only possible way to sustain in the ever challenging digital ecosystem.

Speeding up time-to-marketing would require automation, improving abilities and removing as many roadblocks as possible to increase chances of success.

As agility is vital in the digital age, CMOs should be working to ensure better workflows, efficient collaboration and seamless integration.

Readers May Also Like: 10 Digital Marketing Challenges Solved with AI

Making the Impossible Possible in 2019- Digitally

Making digital work is often technically challenging and expensive at the same time. Developing processes, platforms, structures and creating an ecosystem of MarTech costs time, resources and money but all the hard work is worth the effort.

We hope that this post will help CMOs address the most common hurdles faced during their digital transformation journey. Taking on each step at a time will allow them to build organizational capabilities and develop platform-based strategies that support continuous change.



Originally Published March 3, 2019 04:00 PM, Updated April 25, 2019.

Our Latest Blogs

Our Latest Blogs