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When McDonald’s recently announced the departure of its CEO Don Thompson, some people were surprised to see who ascended to take the company’s top executive position: Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Steve Easterbrook. Among Easterbrook’s top achievements in the fast food chain include elevating marketing and menu innovation for the company’s operations in Europe.

Easterbrook’s journey from a marketing role to McDonald’s top chief executive provides one example of the rise of the modern marketer within organizations. Indeed, the marketing profession is getting more love in more companies. Marketing budgets are increasing, and the CMO tenure continues to go up. Marketing departments are getting a louder voice in the boardroom—and their influence will only increase in the next few years.

So, what’s driving marketing’s newfound power? As the articles below show, it’s due to a combination of improvements in technology and a shift in marketing thinking. Here’s why marketers are finally getting the respect and love they deserve:

  1. Marketers are becoming leaders in customer-centricity.

Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy at NewsCred, says modern marketing teams today lead companies in becoming more customer-centric.

“The modern marketing approach puts customers at the center of everything they do,” Brenner says. “They drive a restructuring of the entire way the business thinks and acts.”

According to Brenner, leaders at successful marketing organizations define the customer-centric mission of the organization, drawing their strategy from analytics and customer insight.

Armed with customer intelligence, the marketing departments that successfully lead customer-centricity influence other parts of the company, including customer service and research and development. For marketers to gain that influence, however, they need to show that they truly know the customer and they need to demonstrate that customer-centricity makes business sense.

Tweet this!Marketers are becoming leaders in customer-centricity. (CLICK TO TWEET)

  1. Marketing insight drives customer experience and innovation.

More than ever, marketers are well positioned to add more value to the organization.

In a February 2015 article, management consulting firm McKinsey & Company explores the dawn of marketing’s new golden age. “As more advanced marketing science and analytics take hold, they are making it increasingly natural for marketing to go beyond messaging and to shape the substance of the business.”

Marketing departments today influence beyond storytelling; they also shape customer experiences and product development. As the McKinsey & Company article says, marketers today are “armed with information about customers and a company’s relationships with them” making them “well-positioned to help differentiate its products, services, and experiences.”

Tweet this!Successful marketing organizations are starting to drive customer experience and innovation. (CLICK TO TWEET)

  1. Companies expect marketers to define business strategy.

In The Rise of the Marketer, a study conducted by Economist Intelligence Unit for marketing automation company Marketo, roughly 80 percent of senior marketers agreed or strongly agreed that marketing will shape company strategies in the next three to five years. That’s a major shift from decades past, when marketers were charged to find an audience after a product or a service has already been developed.

So what’s driving marketing’s increasing influence in the boardroom? According to Sanjay Dholakia, CMO at Marketo, it’s because of the digitization of the shopping experience:

Buyers have more information at their fingertips than ever before and they are using it to self-educate. They’re reaching out to companies later and later in their decision-making cycles. As a result, if a company hopes to engage and influence that shopper, they have to do it earlier. This new digital, social, mobile world is the domain of the marketer.

Because marketers are stewards of the customer and because they drive revenue in the organization, marketers deserve their seat at the table, says Dholakia.

Tweet this!80% of senior marketers expect marketing to shape company strategies in the next 3 to 5 years. (CLICK TO TWEET)


Customer-centricity and advances in technology are helping marketers earn a great reputation in the enterprise, but marketing’s job has just begun. In the age of the empowered customer, marketers need to listen and engage with customers, leveraging technology facilitate these interactions and in acting upon the data that is collected. A key aspect of this is tapping into the power of customer communities that can deliver insight that’s based on real conversations with real customers. As long as marketers put the focus on the customer, they will continue to exert more influence in the decades ahead.

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