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  • Mark Hallander

Top 3 CMO focus areas for 2021

With a marketing landscape of opportunities, today’s Chief Marketing Officers must calculate and plan which activities to prioritize to affect clients, business and brand. A new study from consultancy, Momento, gives us an indication of how the Danish marketing decision-makers are planning their activities in the coming year. The results might surprise you.

#marketingtrends #marketingstrategy

In this post, I will give you a brief run through of the main findings from the study.


The study is based on qualitative pre-interviews with 15 Danish CMOs, which have then been used to create 24 key focus areas. Furthermore, these areas are divided into three managerial directions:

  1. Marketing Efficiency

  2. Organizational Efficiency

  3. Strategy & Innovation

More than 100 Danish CMOs have since participated in the survey – highlighting which area of focus holds the most attention from the CMOs under each managerial direction. Here are three major findings.


An added focus on the customer

In the category of marketing efficiency, the charts are topped by customer-focus. And that shouldn’t really surprise us, should it?


While customer orientation has always been an important, and maybe even an underlying factor, in the marketing organization, CMOs main energy for the past three years has been on managing and consolidating customer data.


And one thing is to have access to data, another is to collect and organize it across siloes of the organization with the purpose of creating holistic customer experiences. Thus, 72% of the CMOs felt that optimization of the customer experience, as well as integrated marketing & omnichannel solutions, was the most important focus area for 2021.


While digital competencies have always been an important enabler in driving the design and optimization of the customer experience, the CMO's now turn to a solid focus on making that experience work. It seems that the end goal – the great, personal customer experience – is weighing heavier than first- and third-party data, cookie policies and access to owning customer data. While they are all means to get there, it is CMO's ability to integrate an omnichannel approach to the customer journey that really matters in 2021.


If you need inspiration on how to approach the modern customer journey, check out this post where I present a model for collecting data to design a journey that centers on the customer.


More cross-organizational collaboration

The next managerial direction is organizational efficiency. Within this direction, CMOs had to choose between focus areas such as the development of competencies within tech and data, new ways of collaborating (e.g. remote access), and agility in working with short, strategic horizons.


Not surprisingly, organizational development and competencies within client orientation score equally high for Danish CMOs when it comes to how they organize themselves. However, one focus area stands out with 71% of the votes: Cross-organizational collaboration.


This ties back to the aforementioned focus on holistic customer experiences because this responsibility does not only “live” in the marketing department. While it is a managerial priority, often a focal area of the entire C-level, CMOs need to break down siloes between Sales/Service, Customer Insights/Analytics, R&D to build cross-functional teams with competencies to solve complex problems.


Cohesive teams that support efficient collaboration is a must-win battle in 2021.


Brand building beats product innovation

As for strategy and innovation, the survey reports a large emphasis on branding, positioning, and work with the value proposition.


After a rough year – to say the least – CMOs want to reach their customers with a strong positioning, as this focus area out ways data-driven innovation, strategy implementation, and the development of existing client portfolio. This is a prioritization of the simple relation between company and customer.


This indicates a focus on creating cohesiveness based on the core values of the brand. In other words, the trend indicates that companies are now emphasizing their core business rather than innovation and new strategies in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic.


How it’s all connected

In summary, these three elements naturally tie together, as your value proposition must be experienced as clear and relevant to customers, and the experience you then offer most both live up to set brand promise and be personal in its execution. And it requires strong cross-organizational collaboration to succeed with the holistic approach with your customers.


If you want to read more on customer experiences, check out this post, where I review a book on service design.

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