Nanigans has carried out some research to examine retail marketing leaders' attitudes about their roles. The survey of 100 digital advertising decision-makers - including CMOs at some of the largest online retailers in the US - found that, despite marketing being tasked with revenue accountability, roadblocks such as increased demands, organizational challenges and external market forces prevent success. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

Based on the survey results, retail marketing leaders revealed their top three priorities as: improving ROI / boosting sales (27%), customer acquisition and retention (24%), and expanding / increasing market share (24%). These objectives underscore the pressure senior-level marketers face to prove results as competition and customer expectations simultaneously increase.

As marketers seek to execute on their priorities, they face organizational challenges and a competitive job market, making it difficult to maintain talent and stability within the marketing department. According to Nanigans' research findings:

  • Forty-two percent of respondents predict they will interview at other companies within six months
  • Over the past seven years, respondents report their companies have had an average of 2.6 CMOs
  • Fifty-eight percent of marketing leaders have seen their roles become fragmented among different executives
  • Ninety-three percent of marketing leaders sometimes or often need buy-in from non-marketing executives on growth-related initiatives
  • Less than a third (30%) of respondents strongly agree that the measure of success for the marketing organization is clearly defined and known across the company

There are also numerous outside market forces moving to the top of the CMO's agenda, adding to their list of initiatives and concerns. The top three topics marketers are actively having conversations about include: data privacy and security (58%), artificial intelligence and machine learning (53%), and regulation and compliance - including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (47%). To keep ahead of the curve by both discussing these topics and incorporating them into marketing plans, it's critical for CMOs to escape the vacuum of an influencer role and demand more control and autonomy.

"Ecommerce companies grow by two main ways: customer acquisition and better monetizing their existing customer bases. Digital advertising is critical to both. However, the digital advertising ecosystem is siloed, complex and controlled by industry giants," said Ric Calvillo, co-founder and CEO of Nanigans. "To succeed in this environment and stay laser-focused on what matters, CMOs need to start driving incremental revenue and stop counting clicks. Our findings reflect the confusion and transformation taking place in marketing today. It's unclear who owns this critical business function, especially as new roles emerge such as the Chief Digital Officer or Chief Growth Officer. To maintain order and drive growth, modern CMOs need independence and autonomy, setting clear metrics and objectives across the organization."