Marketers’ remits expected to grow even more complex

Canada's senior marketers expect duties to increase in data ethics and analytics, among other areas, finds a global survey.
Boardroom, Drew Beamer, Unsplash

The scope of duties assigned to senior marketers appears to grow wider by the year, with many now taking at least partial ownership of digital transformation, sustainability and innovation. Over the next several years, remits are expected to continue to grow more complex, with data analytics and data ethics moving even more into the spotlight, according to a new report examining the changing roles of senior marketers.

The CMO Conundrum and the Search for the Unicorn Marketer study was conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers, in partnership with research agency 2CV, the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and 27 other national advertiser associations around the world.

Globally, it found that the majority (82%) of marketers feel their discipline is valued within their organizations, and 92% believe that marketing is “vital to the success of their business.” However, around one out of every five marketers (19%) surveyed believe the role of the CMO won’t exist in 10 years’ time – whereas only 11% of Canadian marketers share that sentiment.

On average, the report found that Canadian marketers’ portfolios encompass 8.1 different responsibilities (slightly lower than the global average of 8.8), with the most frequently cited being marketing strategy (92%), brand purpose (72%) and people management/leadership (69%). Their remits largely align with those of their international counterparts, except that fewer Canadian marketers (25%) report being responsible for public relations than the global average of 43%. For Canadians, PR was cited as a responsibility only 3% less than sustainability (22%).

Remits are expected to grow more complex as the majority of marketers’ current responsibilities are predicted to become even more important over the next few years. In particular, data ethics (currently cited as a responsibility among 47% of leaders) and data analytics (currently 33%) will be crucial, playing a larger role for 89% and 75% of marketers surveyed, as will innovation (69%), sustainability (67%) and customer experience (67%).

A little more than half of those surveyed believe ROI/performance management, business growth/development strategy, marketing strategy and creative strategy will remain as important as they are today. Nineteen percent of respondents say PR will become less important over the next five years.

On the question of what they should focus on, Canadian marketers’ views are largely aligned with those of other markets: 83% of Canadians say their role should be to lead market changes/trends, while 72% cite meeting customer needs and 47% cite brand performance. Meanwhile, short-term growth was identified as a priority among only 8% of Canadian respondents, lower than the global average of 15%.

The research was conducted through a combination of qualitative interviews with CMOs in October, followed by a quantitative survey of 683 senior marketers during December and January. A total of 36 Canadian senior marketers were included in the study.