In this era of immediate and information-rich (attention-poor) communication, marketing departments have become the epicenter of a company’s product offering. Consumers are ditching dumb-phones and, in many cases, email for the much quicker route of social media outlets, company websites, and location driven mobile applications. These changes in consumer information gathering and shopping behavior have forced businesses to rethink not only their marketing activities, but how they most efficiently deliver their product to market.

As a result, companies have begun to tie-in their sales, marketing, and communication efforts to their back-end retail management.  This new model of business operations has reshaped the way companies reach out, connect with and sell to their consumers. And the leaders of this new model in the enterprise are the chief marketing officers.

From then to now

Traditionally, CMOs were expert collaborators. They gathered information about products from designers and manufacturers; gauged the true value proposition from a sales perspective; and then worked with their communication channels to push messages out to the appropriate market. Their roles were small but significant, and they relied heavily on what other departments produced to make the job their own.

Now, the landscape of selling requires much more from the marketing arm of a company. Based on customer behavior metrics, sales data, and product development information the CMO sets the strategy of how retail enterprises go to market—and what they go to market with!

Keeping up with the consumer

Responding to consumer expectations means more than filling orders, providing basic information on a website or running a call center. Companies now need more than just a website and an 800-number; their digital assets must be personal, intuitive and information rich. Consumers expect at-fingertips information such as inventory availability, customizable options and delivery tracking for most every product and service.  The true value in marketing today is in engaging, highly accurate, and real time content; and digital assets must be packed with as much of it as possible, with a look and feel that’s intuitive to the consumer.

Consumers consider information very valuable, so customer service needs to be on demand. They are the guiding force in the market, which means that customer service platforms must tie-in back-end retail and supplier management systems.

Tracking ROI

ROI is what matters the most. Knowing what’s working and what doesn’t is the difference between making a sale and going bankrupt. No matter how many hits your website gets or how many fans you have on Facebook, a significant amount of those click-throughs must convert into sales or you’ve efforts have failed.

And, again, those go back to the CMO. Tracking that data–what the consumer is looking at, what they’re responding to, and how much it’s driving the buying experience–is what makes the marketing arm of a company invaluable. This is what ties it all together; sales, communication, accounting and customer service all rely on these metrics to do their jobs.

The forecast in how we buy is rapidly changing, so companies must adjust how they sell. A savvy CMO already knows this, and knows that the strategy reaches enterprise-wide. Shifting a company’s goal to a more marketing-focused measureable platform means a stronger infrastructure and a brighter future.