Digital vs Traditional CMO

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]


“I wonder if in five to 10 years whether we should be called chief marketing officers anymore”

ConAgra Foods CMO Joan Chow

Your business may call the position of CMO by different names.Marketing Director, Head Of Marketing or VP of Marketing, whatever it may be. Expectations for this role are changing with the rise of digital.

A lot is expected from the one who makes decisions for marketing. And those expectations are changing in today’s world.

In a world where every single marketing channel can be measured down to the exact metric. Marketing professionals now need to take full responsibility of the effectiveness of their campaigns and can no-longer hide behind unjustly inflated metrics (e.g. readers-per-copy metric for newspapers) to shirk responsibility.

The Digital-Age

Cause Effect thinks that the Marketing Mix of the past just won’t cut it anymore. However, with our experience, we still meet a lot of clients that treat digital platforms like Facebook and Google like advertising on a newspaper.

i.e. Internally deciding, possibly via consensus, fixing a strategy, specific ad creatives copy etc. and running with it.

This is probably the reason why more and more upcoming startups are starting to “disrupt” spaces that are traditionally “owned” by these big corporations. Forcing the big guys to pay them a lot of money to access their user databases at a huge premium. Such arbitrage is not only exclusive to Malaysia, but in most countries in the world.

Big companies will NOT want to cede control of their audiences to these young swashbucklers that are nimble, and understand the intricacies of the new digital platforms that majority of the eyeballs are currently at.

Let’s take Nokia, Kodak and Blackberry.

These three companies are famous examples of companies that failed to move with the times.

In a nutshell, they held past SOPs and Processes that lead to their past successes too dear to their hearts, and with that inertia to change, moved too slowly and quickly rendered their businesses obsolete.

C-Level Executives of corporations today should NEVER put their companies in this situation. And the marketing divisions of the company would be the most logical place to start creating change.

Traditional CMOs

Well, once upon a time, the CMO’s responsibilities goes a little something like this:

  • Building & Developing The Marketing Team
  • Critical Analysis of Data
  • Direct The Company’s Marketing Strategies
  • Ensure The Integration Of Marketing Strategies Across The Departments
  • Develop Ad Campaigns
  • Report Effectively To The Board
  • Contribute To Product Development

That’s a lot to do for one person.

It’s an all-rounder position. A crucial role in the company. You needed to be knowledgeable, a good critical thinker, creative, a good leader and a wickedly good communicator.

We’re sorry to say, but it just got a lot more complicated than that.

Here’s why.


Why Is It Different?

The world has changed. The market has changed. The customers have changed. Let’s look deeper.

1. 500 Ads per Day in 1970 to 5,000 in 2006 to 10,000 today

Ads are becoming a common part of your life. And with us being exposed to an average of 10,000 ads a day today, we are developing what people call “Banner Blindness” or “Ad Blindness“.

What does this mean?

To ensure our marketing dollars are spent right, we all have to Say goodbye to 3-month, 6-month, 1 year long ad campaigns that we are SOOOOO used to.

CMOs also have to step up in the departments of human psychology, data analysis, creative tweaking and optimisation, and be comfortable with working with extensively iterative growth methodologies with weekly (or even daily) changes, responding to data and feedback.

Phew, not an easy task indeed.


2. Data Transparency and Instant Iterations

The lack of data feedback on how campaigns are doing on traditional marketing platforms like flyers, newspapers, television etc. gives marketing leaders and executives an easy out.

Excuses like “Oh, our ads did not work” “Oh, our product is just not good enough” “Oh, our pricing was too high”, “Oh our sales people are just not good enough” yada yada yada, were common place. And the company upper ups with little to no insight into the results, had no choice but to believe them. Even results from surveys and questionnaires, hiring expensive research firms like Nielsen, did little to shed light on the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

Today, things are sooo very different. With Facebook and Google, various analytics tools, and the whole shebang, every single marketing effort can be quantified down to how much does it cost to acquire a customer, what’s the lifetime value of each of the customer acquired from each individual ad campaign, which campaigns should we scale, which campaigns should we cut. All these questions can be answered to a 99% degree of confidence if data is tracked and handled correctly.

Companies gravely need these processes in place to ensure that every single dime of their marketing dollars are spent towards acquiring that profitable customer, reaching the correct audience.

Even Donald Trump used this to good effect when beating Hillary in the recent US elections.


3. A Wealth of Digital Platforms

A Good Digital CMO will need to:

  1. Understand the Intricacies of User Behaviour on EACH and EVERY of these platforms
  2. Know the different demographics for each of these platforms
  3. Understand the targeting, ad creation, audience etc. tools that each ad platform within these social platforms have and the best strategies on how to maximise it
  4. Understand how to navigate and exploit these difference to create results

That’s seriously a lot of work!

Videos. Interactive videos. Cinemagraphs. Pictures. ASMR. Long-form articles. Vlogs. Facebook Live. Instagram Stories. Forums.

There are more ways to communicate now. You can’t just post text-based status updates and hope gain results.


4. Ads Don’t Last

Ads just don’t have the power they used to. Have you heard of the 1984 ad campaign by Apple?

That ad transformed the public opinion of Apple. It introduced the product that would set a new standard for how computers were built.

The Macintosh made Apple. –

Well, this ad made Macintosh. Funnily enough, it was only aired once. An ad that was shown once stimulated conversations for decades. It’s still discussed by advertising agencies once.

Nowadays, great ad campaigns are in abundance. Trends come and die every week. The market moves fast. Companies need to keep creating great content and great ads consistently in order to stay competitive.

5. Customers Are SPOILT

With variety comes expectation.

People get bored easily. They can watch another video. They can visit other channels on the platform. They can go to another platform.

There are so many options. Consumers have their pick. You need to be creative to get their attention. You need to be more creative to retain their attention and build loyalty.

They want you to respond to their concerns.

With the current ad density, consumers want more value.

With interactivity, consumers are now a stronger stakeholder in your company.

With a variety of platforms and communication tools, consumers are spoilt for choice.


New Age CMOs

CMOs need to adapt to this new environment. Higher demands. Higher stakes. More strategies. More ads.

The job demands all of the old skills and some new ones as well.

CMOs need to take the digital world into account. They must understand digital platforms, channels and strategies.

It’s becoming a bigger and bigger part of the marketing industry.

A company cannot afford to focus on traditional media alone. A traditional CMO can cause a business to be irrelevant in the marketing world.

Here’s a summary of what’s changed. CMOs now have access to more information, more channels, more platforms, more channels and more communication methods.

CMOs need to adapt and explore new marketing capabilities to stay ahead.

CMOs also need to innovate and find original and fresh ways to engage their target audience.

Businesses need to incorporate social media and the digital aspect of marketing into their operations.

The impact of every event can be maximised by sharing pictures and videos through social media.

Better information through social media and website analytics allows for better targeting and messaging.

The digital world allows you to link sales to specific marketing efforts. You can see what works.

The digital world allows businesses to develop a more efficient marketing system. Just be sure your CMO wants to and can keep up. If you’re not sure, Cause Effect is here to help 😉



It’s a difficult transition to make, but it’s more of a CHANGE OR DIE situation.

You would definitely not want to go down in your company’s history as the one that, because of your inertia, and inability to change fast, caused your company to be gobbled alive by your competitors.

We know that it’s not easy and, you need a hand in aiding that transition, Cause Effect is here to help. We release regular content on how to make the digital transition and how you can optimise your content, ad, management, targeting and etc.

Make sure you read our blog to start preparing yourself! Feel free to ask questions and discuss your issues over our Facebook Page!

If you need more information, just send us an email by clicking the button below! We can discuss the future of marketing over a cup of coffee.

Understand the Cause and Effects of Your Digital Marketing.

We hope you liked the article! Let us know if you have an opinion that says otherwise. We’d love to hear it.



Let’s ConnectConnect and get to know each other

    © Copyright 2022 by Cause Effect

    Part of