cammie_dunawayThe role of the CMO has evolved. Now, CMOs are responsible for evaluating and optimizing their company’s brand experience for both on and offline strategies. They need to understand how to make the most of the ever-expanding promotional channels, technology, and data into their multi-channel marketing efforts — and build a team to execute on all of that.

So how does a modern CMO do all of that? 

To figure this out, we spoke with someone who’s done it all before. In the post below, Cammie Dunaway, former CMO at Yahoo and Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo, shares her insights on the modern CMO and how digital marketing has transformed other aspects of leadership. At Yahoo and Nintendo, Cammie saw her responsibilities as an executive-level marketer expand rapidly compared to those of her peers — and she shared some of the most important lessons she learned with us below.

Read the following interview for her advice on being a successful CMO today, providing a full customer experience, leading a team through change, and more.

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The modern CMO is a hot topic right now. Throughout your career, how have you seen the CMO’s responsibilities and job role transform? 

My role at Yahoo was way ahead of other CMO’s duties at the time. I had a team of creative people who excelled at finding the right way to make an emotional connection on our various products. I had a team of data statisticians who were all about the science of marketing, testing, learning, and challenging the organization to act on the data’s insights. I had responsibility for customer care, which was highly unusual at the time, but one of the most important jobs if you want people to love your brand. I also had responsibility for both product marketing and understanding consumer insights that could help us build products and innovate. You see more of this today than you saw back in 2003.

The importance of digital marketing further pushes the CMO into new territories. How do you see this shift impacting the CMO and his/her team?

The shift to digital channels has made it much easier to hold people accountable and to understand which parts of your marketing mix are driving the most value for the organization. 

We are at a time where it’s wonderful to be a marketer because you can show the bottom line impact of many of your initiatives. Now, companies realize that they must innovate in order to drive top line revenue. Plus, they have to understand and deliver full customer experiences.

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How do you define the “full customer experience?”

It’s the entire journey a customer takes with your brand. It involves the initial research on your product, searching for recommendations and concerns on social media and the web, the purchase process, and the post-purchase follow-up. The last stage is just as important as the prior stages. Not only do the service issues need to be addressed, but also you should make the conscience effort to include the customer in your brand.

These efforts help with converting your customers into advocates — which can help start the process all over again with someone new. Marketing has to be aware of all of those touchpoints and help the organization excel at each point.

Given your vast experience in leadership, I’d love to hear your words of advice for leaders who are either moving into an executive role or would like to in the future.

The most important thing to do is to surround yourself with people who know more than you do. In this complicated world, there is no way that you can have all the answers on your own. Be loyal to your team, support them, champion their success, and have fun together as a team. Set the expectation that your team is going win together.

Staying at the forefront of innovation requires change. As a leader, how do you go about implementing change without being too disruptive?

It’s important to really listen. To listen to customers and colleagues, and take the time to understand what’s going on before you determine what needs to be changed and what you want to keep and respect about the past.

As a leader, you need to make sure that you have the right people on your team in order to implement changes seamlessly. Marketers usually want a seat at the table. They want to be respected for their strategic insights and for being able to contribute in larger ways than sometimes marketing is thought of. And to do that, you need a team that’s talented but humble, and who doesn’t just demand a seat at the table but who really earns that seat through bringing valued contributions into every conversation.

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