Eighty percent of CMOs believe that they are either entirely responsible for or play a leading role in their organization’s digital business transformation strategy, per a May 2021 Gartner survey—illustrating the increased intertwining of marketing and digital.

Most CMOs believe they are either entirely responsible for or are a leader in their organization’s digital transformation. - Insider Intelligence
Most CMOs believe they are either entirely responsible for or are a leader in their organization’s digital transformation. Insider Intelligence

In the banking industry specifically, CMOs are redefining their role as digital becomes the default banking channel for customers. As a late addition to a product-siloed industry, CMOs have had to prove their value as well as champion a customer-centric organizational mindset in the face of internal resistance.  And being responsible for customer retention as well as acquisition, they are seeking to exert influence over more stages of the customer journey.

The Banking CMO Report from Insider Intelligence synthesizes exclusive interviews with 10 CMOs at some of the largest and most innovative banks, credit unions, and neobanks in the US and Canada to provide insights into how CMOs define their roles and responsibilities; how trends are shaping their strategic priorities; and how a changing consumer and competitive environment is changing the CMO role more fundamentally.

Here are three emerging internal priorities that are top of mind for today’s banking CMOs.

Expanding remit

CMOs are cementing their value within the organization by taking on more responsibilities than the role previously encompassed. Product marketing, once the core of the CMO’s job, is by this point table stakes. Now banks are progressively competing for customers on experiences rather than primarily on feature functionality. As a result, banking CMOs are taking charge of more initiatives within their organizations to drive marketing’s value and generate ROI for marketing spend. 

There are several key components that feed into this core responsibility, based on our interviews with CMOs and research from Deloitte:

  • Making corporate strategy more customer-centric. 
  • Promoting ideation and experimentation. 
  • Parsing and interpreting customer insights. 
  • Creating compelling brand stories. 

Diversifying skill sets

CMOs now need to supplement “soft” marketing skills with quantitative ones to succeed in a digitizing landscape. Where softer skills such as communication, client experience, business knowledge, and creativity once were the main requisites for a successful marketer, these qualitative skills now have to be complemented with quantitative ones like data and technology literacy as marketing shifts firmly to digital.

Today’s CMOs have to add the following skills to their toolbox to enhance their value to their organization:

  • Analytics: The ability to synthesize and interpret data on market trends and customer behavior via tools such as Google Analytics. 
  • Technology: Familiarity with customer relationship management (CRM) and campaign management tools, and with techniques such as programmatic digital advertising, email automation, and SEO.
  • Strategy: Knowing how to leverage analytics insights to optimize current and future marketing campaigns. 
  • Agility: The ability to adapt and respond to change in real time to maximize campaign relevance and mitigate possible instances of reputational damage.

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Maximizing marketing ROI

Banking CMOs are increasingly on the hook to not only quantify the ROI of marketing, but also constantly grow those returns. CMOs’ value to the organization is becoming more inextricably tied to their ability to drive customer and revenue growth and cement marketing’s status as a major growth engine. 

Making better use of data to make marketing initiatives as impactful as possible is a top internal priority. Once an initiative is launched, marketing teams constantly measure engagement and satisfaction to identify not only areas that may be sagging, but also things that could be amplified.

Improving marketing personalization is a key way for CMOs to improve ROI. Personalization is playing a greater role in helping brands secure repeat buyers—60% of respondents to a Segment survey said they’d be likely to become a repeat buyer after a personalized shopping experience in 2021, up from 44% in 2017. This is good news for banks: They have a rich set of proprietary data already and should be making more use of it to drive conversion.

More to learn

Today, there is no longer any question about the importance of marketing when it comes to winning customers’ trust and forging long-lasting relationships. The CMO’s value to their organization is, in fact, creating new pressures to make marketing an increasingly powerful growth engine. To pull this off, CMOs are embracing digital on two fronts: They’re becoming more data savvy to maximize marketing’s effectiveness, and they’re also learning to track and anticipate consumers’ ever-evolving digital habits to gain meaningful appeal.

Insider Intelligence interviewed 10 CMOs at some of the largest and most innovative banks, credit unions, and neobanks in the US and Canada. Read the executive summary.