Redefining the Chief Marketing Officer role: From CMO to CRO

Maja Bozic Categories: Business Insights Date 02-Jul-2024 5 minutes to read
Redefining Chief Marketing Officer Role From CMO To CRO BLOG NEWS

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    Do you remember when Chief Marketing Officers were brand guardians, responsible for the "pretty" part of the business – creative ideas, brand stewardship, collaborations with various agencies, and creative thinkers? 

    Today, especially in the IT sector, that's only a part of the job.

    This role has been redefined into a more comprehensive essence – into the CSMO, which is part of the Chief Revenue Office (CRO). And I, as an individual juggling various roles in Vega IT (including sales, marketing, and revenue), can personaly say that’s true. It’s indeed been a whirlwind of change and discovery. 

    Modern CMOs wear multiple hats 

    Since taking over this role in 2014, I've realized that being a modern CMO means covering multiple responsibilities. Today's CMO must often manage different teams, such as marketing, revenue, business development, sales, and customer success. Therefore, this role spans multiple departments and is usually evolutionary, as it quickly transitions from “just being a CMO” to something else.

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    How busy can it get? Let's say it can get so busy that you write your first article after four years since the last one. :) That’s why I sympathize entirely with fellow CMOs/ CSMOs/ CROs when they share that they often feel like orchestra conductors, ensuring that every business sector plays harmoniously to create a unique melody of growth and innovation.

    Last year, we formed a Chief Revenue Office and, as a CSMO, I joined it.

    My path to becoming a part of it was not a straight line. It felt more like a winding road with many unexpected turns. I have always been fascinated by the potential of digital technologies, and it was only natural that ten years ago, many people with marketing inclinations started working as social media managers. I had to learn and adapt constantly in this role, but this mindset helped me significantly in my career. Through time, I picked up various skills (business development, client relations, sales) and was open to learning from colleagues who weren't closely related to my business area. Over time, I’ve gained insights and expertise I wouldn’t get otherwise. 

    As I transitioned to this multidisciplinary role, I continued to lead marketing efforts and business development, develop revenue streams with my team, and collaborate with the customer success team to ensure our clients are delighted to partner with us. Often, it feels like jumping into a fast-moving river, where you must be laser-focused to navigate different currents and ensure all these functions are aligned. Yet, it works. The growth and innovation we have in Vega IT prove it. 

    Navigating digital transformation

    One of the most essential parts of my calling is – understanding and adapting to clients' needs while taking them on the digital transformation journey. Today's customers and clients are more informed and have higher expectations. They demand personalization, speed, and seamless experiences. As CSMOs, we need to stay on top of these demands, which can be challenging. 

    By leveraging foundational technology and AI, we can better understand our demographics, predict their needs, and tailor our offerings. Doing this allows us to create experiences that resonate and build lasting relationships. Bringing in this fresh thinking has helped me overcome challenges that would otherwise lead to stagnation for Vega IT and our clients. 

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    Some of the most rewarding aspects of my CSMO role were the cases where I helped transform traditional businesses into digital powerhouses. Those stories are truly ones of innovation and progress. The best part is that CSMOs are not afraid of technology – they use it as a strategic vessel in the ongoing battle to drive further customer experience, detect new touchpoints, and increase revenue. 

    In today's interconnected world, you cannot succeed alone. Building strategic partnerships is essential whether you are a small, medium, or enterprise company, a traditional business, or an industry disruptor. You need a reliable partner by your side. Those partnerships are like a puzzle — each piece represents a different strength that, when combined, creates a complete picture of success. 

    From CMO to CRO

    The CMO's original role has dramatically transformed in the last ten years. CMOs, especially those in the IT industry, are at the intersection of marketing, technology, business strategy, and ensuring continuous revenue. So, it is no wonder that a new title had to be found because, in practical terms, CMO is much more than an “M” in the title. 

    They truly deserve a new title – Chief Revenue Officer.

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    CRO now means understanding all the complexities of digital ecosystems. We need in-depth knowledge of digital transformation and how to leverage technology to drive business growth. From data analytics to AI-driven solutions, we use these technologies to gain insights, personalize experiences, and predict customers' and clients' needs. We anticipate clients’ needs and future projects and can push our internal teams forward to work on strategies clients need in a few years. 

    It's like being a Swiss Army knife – having multiple tools and knowing precisely when and how to use each. This (r)evolution requires us to be creative and analytical, ensuring that every campaign, every customer interaction, and every business decision aligns with our overarching goals. Ultimately, we are now key players in driving revenue and fostering customer relationships. With that comes great responsibility. 

    Vega IT has a Chief Revenue Office instead of just one Chief Revenue Officer.

    Who represents the Chief Revenue Office?

    We created a team for our Chief Revenue Office that includes the CEO, the CFO, the CSMO, and the CSIO (Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer). We are involved in many initiatives and responsible for all revenue generation processes in an organization. We are accountable for driving better integration and alignment between all revenue-related functions, including marketing, sales, customer support, pricing, and revenue management.

    Revenue strategy and management

    The CRO's objective is to ensure sustainable, profitable revenue growth in the next 18-24 months. We needed an integrated plan across marketing, sales (sales offices, ROW), CSM, PMO (proposal management), and service/delivery departments. The plan includes milestones, deliverables, and responsibilities. We also needed a process and tools to monitor progress and adjust our activities. This is all led and driven by the Chief Revenue Office.

    Where do we go but forward?

    Looking ahead, the role of the CRO will likely continue to evolve. Agility and innovation will be critical. Sometimes, it feels like you're a surfer waiting for the next big wave to ride. We must embrace new technologies, adapt to market trends, and continuously innovate. You can have a great idea, but it needs to be implemented seamlessly by a team that lives and breathes innovation and a kaizen approach.

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    I take to heart the responsibility of inspiring the next generation of CMOs, CSMOs, CROs, and business leaders. The future is bright, and with the right mindset, strategic partnerships, and tools, we can achieve great things. 

    If you are about to start your digital transformation or looking for innovative ways to grow your business utilizing technology, get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

    Maja Bozic Partner and CSMO

    Maja's nonstandard approach to marketing has developed over the last half decade. She can hear the heart beat of the Internet.

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