Why Brands Are Hiring CMOs with Performance Marketing Backgrounds

Digital marketing should always be measurable. It’s important to lead with that because the topic of this piece will largely defeat the antiquated notion that “successful” campaigns can’t always be measured. Which leads us to performance marketing….

Businesses are witnessing a significant shift in their marketing strategies. A notable change has been the increasing preference for CMOs with a background in performance marketing.

In this post, we will uncover the reasons behind this trend and shed light on the advantages of incorporating performance marketing expertise at the leadership level.

Kim Cooper
Director of Marketing, Amazon Alexa

Single Grain enables us to increase our impact without increasing our headcount

Drive CMO Performance

The Transition from Brand Marketing to Performance Marketing

Performance marketing refers to online marketing and advertising programs in which advertisers pay when a specific action is completed, such as a click or a sale. This model stands in contrast to traditional advertising, where the advertiser pays upfront, regardless of the results.

Various forms of performance marketing include:

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Native Advertising
  • Social Media Advertising / PPC
  • Email Marketing
  • SEO and Content Marketing
  • Programmatic Advertising

Performance marketing is highly measurable and typically includes a strong focus on ROI. It gives advertisers the ability to measure everything from brand reach to conversion rate down to a single ad.

We’re seeing a mindset shift away from an emphasis on brand marketing and more toward performance marketing. Not that brand marketing is of any less significance, but how easily we are able to measure data from marketing activities practically necessitates that marketers have a combined competency in both branding and performance.

Traditionally, companies placed great emphasis on hiring CMOs with brand marketing backgrounds.

However, the digital revolution has prompted a fundamental shift in marketing priorities. The proliferation of digital channels and the growing importance of measurable results have led to an increased demand for performance-driven strategies.

Because of this, businesses now recognize the need for CMOs well-versed in performance marketing. With the majority of marketing efforts going digital, it has become imperative to employ professionals who can drive profitable revenue growth through data-driven strategies.

The Significance of Performance Marketing Expertise

Industry experts emphasize the criticality of a strong performance marketing background.

Marketers lacking a firm grasp on performance metrics may struggle to navigate the modern marketing landscape successfully.

While performance marketing takes center stage, it is essential to recognize its symbiotic relationship with brand-level marketing. Neglecting either approach can prove detrimental to a company’s overall marketing strategy. The ability to engage consumers at both the performance and brand levels ensures a well-rounded and impactful marketing campaign.

CEOs are shifting their tune. They are caring less about anecdotal musings regarding the success of any given marketing campaign and more about data-driven marketing results, and they are right to be thinking that way.

Since marketing data is getting easier to track and interpret, CMOs are better able to gauge the success or failure of a campaign when considering its return on investment.

A Disconnect Between Modern CEOs and Traditional Marketing Approaches

Did you know that:

78% of marketers do not prioritize ROI.

This perception highlights a misalignment between CEOs’ expectations and the marketing outcomes delivered. Forward-thinking business leaders are craving more substantive marketing results to make better business decisions based on data, not just an impression of success.

Embracing Performance Marketing for ROI Measurement

Companies are progressively allocating their budgets towards performance marketing due to its inherent quantifiability. By shifting their focus to performance-driven strategies, businesses gain greater control over measuring and assessing the returns on their marketing investments. The ability to demonstrate measurable results strengthens the partnership between CEOs and CMOs.

The Balance Between Brand and Performance

In the past, brand marketing and performance marketing were often seen as separate entities with distinct objectives and strategies:

  • Brand marketing primarily concentrates on creating a brand’s persona, establishing its identity and managing public relations.
  • Performance marketing, on the other hand, was regarded as a more elusive and challenging endeavor, as tracking and measuring data used to present significant hurdles.

However, the landscape has dramatically changed in today’s digital era. We now have the privilege of advanced technologies and tools that enable us to track and analyze marketing data with unprecedented precision and ease. This shift in capabilities eliminates any justifications for neglecting the measurement of marketing campaigns, regardless of their intended goals.

Today, businesses have realized the inherent value in finding the right balance between brand marketing and performance marketing.

They understand that the two are intricately linked and can work synergistically to achieve remarkable results. While brand marketing establishes a brand’s unique identity and emotional connection with consumers, performance marketing leverages data-driven strategies to drive measurable outcomes and optimize campaign performance.

The Growing Importance of Measurement

Businesses are raising their standards and now expect comprehensive measurement and analytics to assess the success of their marketing efforts.

While profitability may not be the sole objective of every marketing endeavor, the ability to gauge effectiveness, track key performance metrics, and optimize performance is crucial for making informed decisions and maximizing return on investment.

When it comes to growing your business, what gets measured, gets managed.

Measurement provides businesses with valuable insights into the performance of their marketing campaigns. It allows them to identify which strategies are generating the desired outcomes, understand customer behavior and preferences, and allocate resources effectively.

Whether it’s tracking website traffic, conversion rates, click-through rates or engagement metrics, having access to accurate and relevant data enables businesses to make data-driven decisions and continually refine their marketing approach.

Moreover, measurement serves as a vital tool for demonstrating the impact of marketing efforts to stakeholders, including CEOs, investors and board members. By providing tangible evidence of the value generated through marketing activities, businesses can justify their marketing budgets, secure buy-in for future initiatives, and build trust with key decision-makers.

The Role of Performance-Based CMOs

So, as you can see, the role of a performance-based Chief Marketing Officers is crucial to a brand’s success. These CMOs are focused on the ROI of their marketing initiatives, relying on data and measurable results to determine their effectiveness. Here’s why this role is so important:

  • Results-Oriented: Traditional advertising can be expensive and its results are difficult to measure accurately. Performance-based marketing allows brands to only pay for tangible results. Performance-based CMOs focus on the data that shows how effective their strategies are in driving customer actions such as clicks, conversions, or purchases.
  • Optimizing Budget Allocation: A performance-based CMO can help allocate marketing budgets more efficiently. They can identify which campaigns, channels, or strategies are driving results and allocate more budget towards them, thus maximizing the ROI.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Modern CMOs leverage customer data and insights to drive their marketing decisions. They focus on understanding customer behavior and preferences, enabling them to tailor their marketing efforts to better engage with their target audiences.
  • Adaptability and Agility: This role requires quick thinking and adaptability. They need to be able to adjust marketing strategies based on real-time performance data. If a campaign is not performing as expected, a performance-based CMO will analyze the data, determine the issue, and pivot the strategy if necessary.
  • Customer Acquisition and Retention: CMOs also play a crucial role in customer acquisition and retention strategies. They focus on converting leads into customers and retaining them by optimizing the customer journey and experience.
  • Enhanced Personalization: They can use data to create personalized marketing campaigns. Personalized content can improve customer engagement and increase conversion rates.
  • Brand Growth: By focusing on performance, these CMOs can effectively drive brand growth. They can increase brand visibility and reputation through successful campaigns and positive results, thereby attracting more customers and driving sales.

In the end, the role of a performance-based CMO is to ensure that all marketing efforts, including other marketing hires, are leading to measurable business outcomes and growth.

Final Thoughts on Performance Marketing CMOs

As marketing strategies continue to evolve, performance marketing rises above brand marketing as the marketing style that bears more meaning and weight. It’s not to discount the value of brand marketing by any means, but brand marketing is no longer sufficient on its own.

With how measurable everything has become, there’s really no excuse not to pair it with data.

Companies recognize the necessity of hiring CMOs with a background in performance marketing to drive profitability and measurable results. The integration of performance and brand-level marketing strategies enables businesses to optimize their marketing efforts and deliver tangible outcomes.

As a digital marketing agency specializing in performance marketing, we emphasize the significance of staying attuned to this industry shift. By embracing performance-driven strategies, we can help businesses navigate.

Drive CMO Performance


Repurposed from our Marketing School podcast.

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