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The Multifaceted Role of a Chief Marketing Officer

Over the last 5 years, I have been leading the marketing team of the leading English print daily of the country - The Daily Star. I had the opportunity to trek around the FMCG industry, the logistics sector until finally working in the media. Considering that, and also my experience from working at multinationals, as well as my learning from my seniors who are leading different organizations from various industries, I have always received questions regarding what the ideal role of a CMO is.

I guarantee you this much, the role of a Chief Marketing Officer isn’t limited to shouting at your team to ‘boost the Facebook post’ or to ‘increase sales’. It’s a lot more than that. The responsibilities vary from organization to organization but managing and leading the marketing team as the CMO has a lot of different aspects. Let’s take a look at the extensive role of a CMO.

The CMO as the Customer Development Manager

Insights about customers, the market, and the commercial model are the skeleton for innovation. The CMO is the person who can guide translating the insights that will metamorphose into credible commercial decisions to grow business value. Starting from the fundamental level of research to customer engagement and transaction data, insights can be generated in various forms. It’s very crucial for the CMO to get an imaginative and extensive understanding of marketplace trends, customer needs, etc. Market Research is not utilized to its fullest unless meaningful insights aren’t derived from those to provide value to the customer as well as the business. A CMO plays a crucial role in designing the research phase and post-research decision-making process.

After joining The Daily Star, I had to understand the audience in a very differentiated way. It wasn’t a piece of cake to turn a 25-year-old legacy brand into an aspiring brand for the youth. As The Daily Star’s Head of Marketing, it was my responsibility to reform the model, so that the young audience can consume content on their preferred platforms at their preferred time, in this era of digital.

No, it’s not just the engineer and the product manager that works with the life cycle of a product. It’s also the responsibility of the CMO of the company to know how well a product is performing because it’s the offering through which a customer takes an action. Starting from our website as a product to special issue jacket publications, I had to take care of the field as a product manager.

One such initiative I would like to talk about is when we launched a Messenger Bot from The Daily Star, to serve preferred news content delivered to the inbox of our audience. Click here to know more about this.

The CMO as the Growth Manager

The CMO of a company should act as a Growth Driver to not only lead the growth agenda but also to bring new business opportunities to the table. From a leadership stance, sketching the growth strategy, communicating and executing the plans to reach the vision is an ideal to-do for a CMO. The CMO should be aligned with the R&D and other departments to drive organic revenue growth.

Exploring and experimenting with different campaigns and various content distribution models to eventually expand the audience was a challenge for me as the Head of Marketing of The Daily Star. What kind of population are we missing out on? Are there any social media which we should concentrate on further? Well, as the growth manager, it is a piece of responsibility to ask the right questions for growth.

As part of the growth agenda, it was a difficult job to convince my CEO to expand our target audience and serve a new set of readers through launching native content, but eventually, we entered the extended consumer market. As of today, native content contributes to 40% of the total readership. We launched a Bangla Site from The Daily Star to grow in a field where we had potential.

The CMO as the Brand Manager

One of the most fundamental assets of any organization is the corporate brand of the company. Not only are the leading brands valued highly, but they can also give a competitive edge. The CMO nurtures the corporate brand that connects with the customers and differentiates itself to stand out.

As the Head of Marketing of The Daily Star, I worked with making it a lifestyle brand that is more than just a newspaper. Facilitating the launching of youth-specific platforms like Toggle, Star Youth, to initiate youth-focused programs like Coffee with Mentor, Rise High Bangladesh, etc., is an example of how I worked with the brand positioning. A brand has many responsibilities, and maintaining the brand is a task a CMO has to exclusively take care of. For a better understanding of this, click here.

The CMO as the Talent Manager

The role of a CMO in fostering talent is often overlooked. The HR is responsible for the recruitment, payroll, and other basic measures to look after the employees, but fostering those employees and converting them to eventually have a strong employer brand is the responsibility of a CMO. To reach the visions in a strategic process, the CMO needs to foster the employees and make the best team with the help of the HR department.

Managing millennials/gen z is not an easy job. Young talent and their aspirations are different from the previous generation. Starting from salary and bonus to having a good culture, and independence, a CMO needs to understand them in the workplace. You can take a look at the Boss Matrix for a better understanding of this.

The CMO as the Stakeholder Manager

At the end of the day, a CMO has to protect the brand not just in the case of the customers, but also the other stakeholders, starting from the suppliers to the communities. If you look at the customer journey, the other stakeholders play a huge role in eventually shaping up the customer satisfaction level. So it’s important to make sure that the stakeholders are satisfied, and playing their role right. As the Stakeholder Manager, the CMO might have to attend many coffee meetings, many zoom sessions and read multiple reports and publications to stay up-to-date for opportunities.

While initiating Mission Save Bangladesh from The Daily Star, I had to manage over a hundred stakeholders. This was a one-of-a-kind initiative from a media house, to help people during COVID 19, and when the leading print daily took a step in this, as the Head of Marketing it was important for me to walk the extra mile. It was worth it when we got featured in leading publications from over the world, such as the Washington Post.

They teach you in business schools about marketing funnels, increasing sales, and whatnot. But they don’t tell you that as a marketer, you have to mix with different people, and play different roles as you go up the ladder. So next time before mixing with a programmer or maybe a departmental store owner, don’t think about what use will they come to your life as a marketer. Instead, ask yourself, how can you make them a part of the journey, and create a win-win situation. And the moment you do that, I promise, you’re already on the journey of becoming a good CMO.

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