AI for CMOs: How to Transform Talent, Tech, and Strategy
CMOs are increasingly turning to AI to solve their biggest challenges.
That’s no surprise: AI has the potential to transform talent, tech, and strategy for marketing leaders.
To learn how, we brought together some world-class CMOs and marketing experts to discuss how CMOs and marketers can use AI to unlock their full potential.
These insights come from the AI for CMOs roundtable at the Marketing AI Conference (MAICON) 2021, the top event for understanding, adopting, and scaling AI in marketing.
The roundtable featured:
- Panelist: Amy Heidersbach, CMO of AI-powered language company Persado.
- Panelist: Daniel Incandela, at the time CMO at Terminus and currently CMO at Reachdesk.
- Moderator: Jim Lecinski, former Google marketing VP and clinical associate professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
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1. CMOs increasingly see AI as an essential part of the marketing stack.
CMOs are increasingly bringing AI into the marketing stack. Heidersbach sees many more plans and budget items for AI, both internally and at partner companies. Incandela notes that marketing is taking more ownership over the tech stack, and AI is running behind the scenes in a lot of those tools.
The reasons why?
There are two drivers.
The first is the need for scale. The most transformative CMOs are looking to grow fast and unlock the value of their enterprise technology investments. While they’re hiring for these needs, they can’t do it fast enough to meet growth demands. AI provides an attractive solution to improve marketing performance and learn to improve at scale.
The second is data. Until recently, brands haven’t had enough data or the right data to power AI tools. That’s changing. CMOs no longer need more data. They need to understand the data they have and make useful predictions based on it. These are areas where AI excels, so adoption is increasing as a result.
“As a CMO, each year I spend more and more time with my ops person because data is becoming so much more critical,” Incandela said.
2. CMOs are using AI for two big reasons.
The first is explosive top-line growth, says Heidersbach, not incremental growth. She’s seeing AI platforms that are making big changes that have big impacts that transform businesses. AI is also forecasting and recognizing trends, so CMOs can better understand and drive ROI, says Incandela.
However, another big factor always comes into play for CMOs. The need for more efficiency.
CMOs are being asked to do more with less. AI isn’t just helping them crush topline revenue numbers. It’s also helping them reduce costs. The talent war is real, says Heidersbach, and scaling to dozens or hundreds of team members is incredibly difficult. AI fills the gap by achieving efficiencies at scale that don’t require a commensurate rise in staff.
3. AI adoption for CMOs starts with this one thing.
Marketing exists to solve business problems, says Heidersbach. CMO tenures are growing shorter, in part because marketing isn’t fully embracing the need to connect initiatives to larger business objectives.
AI must tie back to business goals.
You don’t need AI transformation overnight, but you do need to tie any AI efforts big or small to the business outcomes leadership cares about. This can be done by looking at the business’s roadmap and tech strategy right now. What is the ROI of current investments? Where are the gaps? You can then map AI investments to underserved business goals.
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