By the Webtrekk Marketing Team

Digital is carving out a bigger and bigger place in the C-Suite. 

A quick glance at the backgrounds and titles occupying your own company’s C-Level probably proves this. But if you need further confirmation, check out Korn Ferry’s “Top 15 for 2015: The most in-demand C-level positions for the year ahead”. 

Korn Ferry, the largest executive search firm in the world, lists Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Cyber Security Officer and Chief Digital Officer among the top five most in-demand positions. Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer appear as well.

In other words, data and technology are going to be all of our bosses before long.

No doubt, Chief Marketing Officer is still firmly entrenched in the modern C-Suite. It’s just that the position itself is evolving. Fast. And as the C-Suite becomes more digital, so, too, must the CMO.

Let’s take a look at 11 tips that will enable the modern-day CMO to stay relevant in the rapidly evolving C-Suite.

1. Get Digital

Any CMO in 2015 will understand that marketing campaigns need to utilise digital channels and be underpinned by digital optimisation techniques. 

But it is hard to overstate the scope of the shift to digital.

Gartner, for instance, projects that by 2018, digital business will require half as many business process workers – and 500% more key digital business jobs, compared to traditional models. 

It will be impossible for a CMO to stay afloat without riding the digital wave.

2. Let ROI Rule

Numbered are the days when a CMO can simply say, “Oh, the ROI on that campaign isn’t important. It was just for branding.”

Smartphones, in-depth analytics and user-centric tracking are ushering in an era of unprecedented measuring. And the CMO of tomorrow (and today, for that matter) needs to be able to measure, to prove that campaigns are working. 

The percentage of marketing campaigns that don’t have a clear-cut ROI is on a one-way track towards zero.

3. Acknowledge (and Embrace) Data Domination

Everyone wants to be data-driven. And with good reason. Data helps to optimise processes, maximise returns, allocate resources.

Data-driven, though, will soon give way to data-dominated. Data will not assist marketing campaigns; data will dominate them.

“Real-time relevance is moving to become table stakes, and the quickest to move will win,” analytics and data warehouse provider Teradata wrote in its 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey.

In other words, CMOs who see data not as seasoning, but as the entire meal, will be the ones getting ahead.

4. Don’t Forget Offline

Digital advertising expenditures are expected to eclipse $160 billion in 2015. That’s huge.

But even so, it will only account for 30% percent of total ad spending, according to Magna Global. 

In four years, that number is projected to rise – but only to 38%.

So the focus shouldn’t be ditching offline campaigns, but rather incorporating data-dominated principles into the offline world.

5. Assist Your Team

Nowadays, a lot of experts are hired in diverse team set ups. This is a very positive thing. But it also means aligning those experts towards a joint goal. A company goal. 

In general, a superior should always also be an assistant (for his own team), but in a digitally-oriented team, those experts might even need stronger assistance because of their dedicated expertise on a specific technical field. 

Managing will get less important. Assisting is the new management. The more your company is focusing on online and online business, the more global the business will become. Core competencies, time zones, cultures. Bringing everything together is the number one task for a professional CMO.

6. Learn More and Get Social

Even the most progressive and data-driven CMO 10 years ago would have had no idea about so many things that, today, we take for granted. 

In 2005, Twitter didn’t exist. Bitly didn’t exist. The iPhone was two years away. Facebook was in its infancy.

It is impossible to forecast each and every evolution in digital marketing. But it is not impossible to keep your ear to the ground and, if not anticipate what’s next, at least be at the forefront of adopting what’s next.

That means you need to be on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on whatever platform pops up next. You don’t need to tweet your every thought or Instragram what you ate for breakfast. But being present on social media will let you see what’s developing as it develops, no afterwards.

7. Delegate Competence

The definition of marketing continues to expand. Analytics is now an essential element of marketing, for instance, as are web design, social media and more. 

A CMO would need 36 hours a day to micromanage all of this stuff.

And that’s why the CMO of the future will delegate, delegate, delegate. This will increase efficiency and make your business scalable. Let the experts be experts.

8. Join Forces

People outside Marketing know different things than the CMO. Obviously. 

But what isn’t obvious to a lot of CMOs is that this external knowledge can be a huge boon for the marketing team.

Virtual, interdepartmental teams facilitate cross-pollination of ideas. You can ensure “Eureka!” moments – or at least “Maybe we should try that” moments – when external perspectives are brought into the fold. 

Enforce the power of brainstorming.

9. (Re)Connect with the CTO

Everybody has heard that the CMO will have more budget to spend on IT than the CTO himself. That is exciting and challenging. 

The growing responsibility within the technical sector gives great freedom to the CMO. The CTO has much more experience picking the right vendor, the right tool, the right partner. 

So as a CMO, you better make sure the CTO is and will be your friend. 

10. Listen to Your Customers. Seriously.

This one is as old as data domination is new. And it is more important than ever.

Customers – or readers or viewers or whatever your target group looks like – have infinite choices. They also have power to influence others. They’re on social media, too, and you shouldn’t underestimate the power of negative marketing.

Use data. Use analytics. But put customers at the centre of what you do. If you don’t, someone else will.

11. Relax

You can not achieve everything in life. Not in private life, not in business life. 

You just need to focus on the important stuff, and for CMOs, the important stuff boils down to optimisation. Determine which factors you are able to improve. Step by step. With smart decisions.

And besides, even though the world seems to be spinning faster than ever, you will probably have more time to act than your prede†cessors: Gartner projects that by 2020, life expectancy of people in the developed world will increase by a half-year thanks to the widespread adoption of wireless health monitoring technology. 

Use those six months to get a head start on these 11 tips.