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CMOs are using social data to drive discussion in the C-suite, which is enhancing their influence and personal brand. Result: Social data is providing an unexpected new source of CMO legitimacy.

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Robert Berkman

CMOs are doing more with social media and may be increasing their influence within their organization as a result. This is the third in our series of posts on social business in the C-suite.

Is the rise of social media in marketing making the CMO function stronger?

Recent surveys and research — including early results of our own Year 2 survey currently in progress — offer findings that point in the same direction. Within the C-suite, CMOs are most likely to be heavily utilizing socially-generated data in their operations and expressing high levels of optimism about the growing importance of social business for their function and for their business as a whole.

An important implication of this increased reliance on social data is the potential of growing strength and influence of the CMO function within the enterprise.

Several specific findings speak to this growing connection between CMOs, social data and a stronger function. For instance:

Some early data from our Year Two update of MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s report Social Business: What are Companies Really Doing? released in 2012 also demonstrates the strong relationship CMOs are creating with social. For example, the CMO function was far and away the leader in the C-suite (and among other functions) in reporting that insights from social data and tools were being used to understand market shifts as well as to improve strategy development

Of course, it’s not just social alone that’s helping fortify the CMO function. Some of the strengthening can also be attributed to how that function is increasingly becoming the hub for the collection and analysis of all sorts of new data and measurement activities — whether via social media inputs, internal data generation, predictive analytics work, or other data-rich sources and activities. Research is also suggesting that some of the increase in CMO strength may be coming at the expense of the influence of the CIO. Our next installment of social in the C-suite will specifically examine the CIO’s role in — and relationship with — social business.

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