The Influencer Series

Influencer Series: An Introduction

Marketing is an ever evolving beast.  From the times of direct mail, to newspaper ads, and now to online, digitized messages, it has been the duty of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to deal with the fleeting nature of the market, their audience, and the technology on which it stands.

With the constant buzz of media and the accelerating conveyer belt of new technology, the history of the marketing industry is not something many lose sleep over. However, it is important for us marketers to understand how we got here, so we can predict where we will soon be.

The rise of the CMO

In 2008, during the first tremble of the economic downturn, the CMO was labeled as a luxury by a number struggling companies. In an attempt to keep heads afloat, many CMOs were laid off or fired. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) stepped in to fill the void, taking on the roles of both offices simultaneously. However, this shift was not permanent. After a number of bailouts and passed pieces of legislation that attempted to bandage a wounded economy, the position of the CMO started to creep back into the corporate picture.  

In 2010, the CMO’s position fed off the response and behavior of the customer in a way it had not before. Social media gave customers the driver’s seat when it came to marketing. Now, instead of traditional paid ads, customers became the brand ambassadors. Customer reviews, good or bad, became a crucial selling point in nearly all industries. The increased use of social media and mobile technology made it easier than ever to spread this feedback. Marketers budgeted more than ten percent of their budget to social media and mobile to align with consumer habits and achieve maximum brand engagement. This rising mobile and social adoption tore down the barriers that once confined marketing efforts. Marketers seized this opportunity immediately. Audiences, once only contacted from 8-10 on a TV set, were now accessible virtually anywhere at anytime.

Automation take over

Today, marketing technology is evolving at warp speed, allowing for some interesting and extremely effective ways to reach prospective buyers. New advances in this technology have given marketers the ability to track online audience behavior and collect specific information. All of this has contributed to creating a plethora of data that is now used to target desired audiences. As a consequence, distributing these marketing messages, or programmatic ads, is easier, more effective, and automated. These types of ads reign supreme in today’s market. Roughly 20% of display ads and 10% of video ads are sold programmatically, and this only increasing.

Marketing departments are now a more defined and separate arm of the company. The wider cast net has given marketers the power to convert leads on a large scale for the first time. The shift from using hardware, which was controlled by the CIO, to cloud services meant that the CMO could operate without approval from the CIO. This separation has created a faster, leaner way of functioning.

After only seven years, the journey of the CMO has come full circle. Once given the boot in the face of an economic crises, they are now next in line to become the CEO, even before their former placeholder, the CIO.

In this short time, the landscape of marketing has been completely torn down and rebuilt. New technology and a shifting economy sow the seeds of marketing’s future. It will only travel in the same direction as, and parallel to, these two things. This makes it very exciting and dynamic, but difficult to predict.

This unpredictability, while enthralling at times, presents a huge risk. Really, only an expert or influencer in the marketing industry, has any footing to determine the possible direction this industry might take. This is why we turn to them for advice, in this blog series – The Influencer Series.


Ken Magill of the Magill Report

Kevin Bobowski of Act-On

Marci Hansen, co-founder of SheerID

Cheyenne Miner

Cheyenne Miner is a marketing intern at Scratch-it. She is on a mission to find the most effective marketing strategies.