The 2024 Roadmap to CMO

We surveyed marketers to find out what tasks they most and least prefer. Not only does this provide valuable insights for those in the industry, but it also offers a game-theoretic roadmap for career progression and those aspiring to become a CMO.

  • August 8, 2023

By The Phrasee Team

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When it comes to professional growth and fulfillment, the path to advancement isn’t always paved with glamorous assignments. Often, it’s the least desirable tasks – the ones with the fewest hand-raisers – that end up getting you noticed.

But that’s not all – Marketing in the digital age is as dynamic as ever. With a myriad of tools, platforms, and channels at a marketer’s disposal, preferences on what strategy or approach to take can widely vary. That said, the marriage of determination and technology can not only make tasks more manageable but also pave the way for career progression.

When it comes to jobs, everyone has their preferences. Last week, we surveyed marketers to find out what tasks they enjoy the most, and which ones they’d rather avoid. The results were quite interesting and shed some light on the current landscape. While it’s difficult to determine what’s truly impactful and what’s not, it’s clear that people tend to gravitate towards tasks that they enjoy the most.

Our analysis takes a closer look at what marketers enjoy, what they tolerate, and what they detest. Not only does this provide valuable insights for those in the industry, but it also offers a game-theoretic roadmap for career progression and those aspiring to become a CMO.

About the survey

On August 2nd, we listed 49 common tasks that the modern marketer undertakes. From here, we ran a randomized pairwise comparison using an innovative survey method that focuses on open and quantifiable social data collection (more info on the methodology here).

At the time of writing this blog, we received 1,540 responses to the survey, giving us confidence in its statistical significance. We have left the survey open, so the results may change as time goes on (you can view the full results in real time here).

The activities are ranked on a scale from 0 to 100, with 0 being the least popular and 100 being the most popular. Below are the results and analysis.

What marketers love doing (and why)

  • Designing and Implementing Email Marketing Campaigns (78)
  • Developing Content Marketing Strategy (74)
  • Working with Marketing Automation Tools (73)
  • Creating Visual Assets (Videos, Graphics) (73)
  • Designing Landing Pages for Campaigns (71)

At the heart of what marketers love lies creativity and direct impact. Email campaigns and content strategies allow them to craft messages that resonate with audiences. It’s immediate, it’s personal, and when done right, it’s immensely satisfying.

Add to this the thrill of automation tools that amplify reach, and visual assets which enhance engagement, and we see why these tasks light up the eyes of most marketers. They’re in control, they’re crafting stories, and they’re watching those stories make a difference in real time.

What marketers don’t mind doing (and why)

  • Implementing Geotargeting Strategies (65)
  • Conducting Keyword Research (61)
  • Maintaining Consistent Branding Across Channels (59)
  • Conducting Multivariate Testing (59)
  • Coordinating Product Launches (58)

These tasks are the meat of marketing operations. They might not provide the immediate dopamine hit of seeing a campaign go viral, but they’re crucial cogs in the machine. Geotargeting and keyword research speak to the analytical side of marketing, ensuring efforts are tailored and targeted. Consistency in branding and product launches is about maintaining a cohesive narrative. These tasks are the bridge between pure creativity and the structured world of business results.

What marketers hate doing (and why it’s still important)

  • Ensuring Compliance with Data Privacy Regulations (24)
  • Regularly Reviewing and Updating Social Media Policies (20)
  • Monitoring Legal and Ethical Guidelines in Advertising (16)

Nobody likes red tape. But in an age of data breaches and heightened awareness of privacy, these tasks are more important than ever. They don’t have the glamour of a campaign launch or the thrill of crafting a viral video. They’re about due diligence, about ensuring that the creative efforts don’t backfire due to legal oversight. It’s the nitty-gritty, often tedious work that keeps the ship steady. It might not be loved, but it’s indispensable.

How you can stand out from the crowd

Everyone loves the spotlight, but sometimes, the path to greatness lies in the shadows. Embracing what others shun can be your golden ticket. Here’s why:

  1. Mastering the Mundane: By excelling in tasks that others avoid, like ensuring data compliance or monitoring ethical guidelines, you not only add unique value but also become irreplaceable.
  2. Broadening Your Horizon: Engaging in tasks across the spectrum, from creative to administrative, provides a holistic understanding of the marketing machinery. This wide-angle view is a trait of effective leaders.
  3. Doing the Dirty Work: It’s not just about doing unpopular tasks but about owning them, refining them, and, if possible, making them desirable. This proactiveness showcases leadership potential.

Consider the following matrix, plotting “Marketer preference” against “Importance to CMO.”  The quadrant to focus on is the top left – what people hate doing… but is important to CMOs.  This is where you have the highest probability of standing out and getting noticed.

The 2024 Roadmap to CMO

By understanding what the majority gravitate towards, you can uncover opportunity gaps in the average marketer’s arsenal.  It’s in these gaps where the leaders of tomorrow will rise.

You’ll have less competition for expertise – and this expertise you can translate into the next step in your career.

  1. Embrace the Full Spectrum: Don’t just focus on what you love. Understand every aspect of marketing, even if it’s tedious. This breadth of knowledge will set you apart.
  2. Challenge the Norms: The marketing playbook is ever-evolving. Be the person who writes the next chapter, not just the one following the current one.
  3. Prioritize Ethics and Compliance: In an age of mistrust, being the beacon of ethical and compliant marketing can be a massive differentiator.
  4. Cultivate a Mentorship Mindset: As you climb, lift. Guiding junior staff not only earns you goodwill but also sharpens your leadership skills.
  5. Continuous Learning: The digital landscape changes in the blink of an eye. Stay updated, stay relevant, and never stop learning.
“When you’re strong, make them think you’re weak.”
Mr. Miyagi – The Karate Kid

Hello, fancy corner office!

The road to the CMO office isn’t just about following your passion. Everyone wants to come up with the next big creative idea, but everyone is doing the same thing.  It’s like how back in the 2000s hipsters tried so hard to be different… but by trying so hard, they all wound up being the same (FWIW craft beer is objectively not good and is a trend that should go away now).

The key is to stand out. But that doesn’t happen by accident.

Being a CMO is about understanding the entire landscape, embracing challenges, and continually pushing boundaries. In five or 10 years, it’ll be super easy to find people to join your team who are experts in the most preferred areas listed above.  But it’ll be very hard to find people who know about the things no one wants to do.  And this is your opportunity.

The 2024 roadmap might seem daunting, but for those willing to tread the path less traveled, the rewards are unparalleled.