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October, 13th 2011
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Carolyn Heller Baird IBMby Carolyn Heller Baird, CMO Study Global Director, CRM Global Lead, IBV, IBM Global Business Services

Proactive CMOs forge customer relationships that continue after the sale. They understand their companies can fortify these bonds by demonstrating a corporate character that manifests itself in everything their employees say and do.

Corporate character refers to the manner in which business integrity and principles are routinely modeled throughout the organization as an integral part of the company’s value proposition. It represents a growing challenge and opportunity for many CMOs because it positions employees as a key conduit for the brand promise. Employees become the voice of the company.

This requires marketing to cultivate internally the kind of brand message they once directed primarily to the external market. In other words, what an organization stands for is as important as what it sells. And that corporate character is not simply a product of its mission statement, logo or advertising. It is, rather, the sum of everything — the beliefs they hold, values they profess and ways they behave, visible for all to see.

Many CMOs recognize they have a major role to play in helping to ensure the workforce embraces and exemplifies the organization’s corporate character. CMOs can become champions of their organization orporate character by helping the enterprise define and activate the traits that differentiate it. By working with the entire C-suite, CMOs can meld the internal and external faces of the enterprise. This expanded focus suggests that CMOs are eager to move beyond tradi­tional marketing.

Additionally, marketing is also in a unique position to monitor and analyze how well corporate character is contributing to their company’s success in the marketplace. They can track customer sentiment and behavior, extrapolating insights from the data to help manage touchpoints systematically.

With new capabilities such as browser-tracking cookies, global positioning system receivers in mobile devices and interorganizational data sharing, for example, marketing can collect far more customer information than ever before.

However, this poses new challenges for CMOs who also need to consider the implications of their privacy policies to ensure these new capabilities are consistent with their company’s corporate character. Yet, relatively few CMOs are prioritizing customer concern over privacy and security. CMOs need to consider what they can do to inspire greater customer confidence as they think about how to manage big data for their own purposes.

The practice of marketing is going through a period of unparalleled change, putting CMOs everywhere to the test. So how should CMOs and marketing professionals respond to their evolving role?

Find out what more than 1700 CMOs had to say and download the study at www.ibm.com/cmostudy.

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