In her piece, What B2B CMOs Will Face Tomorrow – 5 Emerging Trends, Christine Crandell outlines five trends identified in a recent Marketo-commissioned CMO survey. The two trends that caught our attention were a customer-first approach and how visibility into bottom-line metrics can earn CMOs points at the executive level.

In the future, CMOs’ effectiveness and influence will be largely determined by the depth of insight they have into customer need and the ability to translate those insights into revenue and loyalty.

1. The Customer-Driven Enterprise

The ‘age of the customer’ is here. The buyer is in the driver’s seat for most vendor relationships and the purchase cycle. As a result, CMOs are embracing customer-dictated marketing:

“Customers will not just dictate how vendor digital properties should function but also their expectations of content, products, marketing programs, sales methodology and customer-facing processes. Brands that listen and open their four walls will see customers even influence their cultures… Companies must learn how to surrender yet capitalize on their customers’ desires if they expect to survive.” – Christine Crandell

Customer-determined marketing directs marketers to focus on the actual needs of buyers versus the perceived ones, which will help build lasting customer relationships. Still, a truly customer-centric strategy is easier said than done, and getting there requires more sophisticated marketing technology: “Supported by deep data analysis, modeling, and hyper-personalization brands will be able to build credibility and trust by treating each customer as an individual, on their terms, at scale.”

2. The Executive-Aligned CMO

ROI and predictability are two metrics that boards and CEOs expect to get from their CMOs. Now, more than ever, B2B marketers have an opportunity to connect their myriad activities to revenue:

“The rising sophistication and transparency of metrics to report on conversion and marketing ROI is enabling every CMO’s desire to have a credible seat at the management table. Marketing has real, hard data to prove its contribution to the pipeline and topline – as long the language the CMO speaks is financial.” – Christine Crandell

The next challenge for CMOs is how to drive the conversation past the tactical to a level that influences the strategic investments and priorities of the company. Data-driven technologies, like predictive intelligence, give CMOs a way to connect the dots and get deeper visibility into “reputation, awareness, customer experience…pipeline by channel and the influence of communities.”

Why Wait?

For a company’s customer-dictated marketing approach to succeed, greater visibility into customers will become an absolute necessity. Similarly, increased reporting that consists of hard numbers to illustrate both revenue and customer impact further demonstrate marketing’s need for deep data-driven insights.