What Successful CMOs Want in Their Marketing Agencies?

When it comes to selecting a marketing agency, successful CMOs want partners - not vendors. This means more than just having expertise with all modern digital marketing channels; it means providing a tailored, results-oriented commitment to a client’s objectives.

What Do CMOs Really Want?

If you ask elite CMOs what their dream digital agency would look like, most would describe a partner that thinks expansively about its clients' business goals, and then applies the right mix of digital solutions to comprehensive strategic and innovation planning.

Unfortunately, past research has shown that over 60 percent of CMOs regarded their marketing agencies as mere suppliers and not partners. What's more, this same research found that over 70 percent of CMOs believed their agencies lacked the ability to provide genuine customer insights; while more than half believed their agencies had a limited or poor understanding of the issues affecting their businesses. Although much has changed since this study first made news, it's reasonable to believe that CMOs maintain similar frustrations with their marketing agencies today.

Identifying Key Attributes

For agencies to meet client needs, it's imperative that they build stronger, more insightful partnerships. To do this, they must understand the traits and characteristics CMOs value when choosing external marketing partners.

To provide insight into this all-important topic, LEAP conducted a study to determine what CMOs want from agencies. Among its most compelling revelations included:

Agency Characteristics

The LEAP study found that specific agency characteristics had a major influence on CMOs, including:

  • Access to staff
  • Examples of actionable results
  • Examples of creative product
  • Reliability of quoted prices
  • Digital expertise
  • Reputation of clients
  • Access to leadership
  • Sector specialization

Agency Traits

LEAP was also able to uncover key traits that make an agency more attractive to CMOs, including:

  • Honest
  • Intelligent
  • Responsive
  • Strategic
  • Accessible
  • Collaborative
  • Innovative
  • Transparent
  • Proactive
  • Passionate
  • Flexible
  • Respectful
  • Ambitious
  • Analytical
  • Affordable
  • Data-driven
  • Bold

Partners in Accountability

The role of CMO has evolved substantially over the years. Times change quickly, new technologies arise every day, culture shifts - and CMOs have to keep up with it all. Expectations are high for getting results, and both CMOs and agencies are being held more accountable.

As they grapple with shifting landscapes, CMOs want agency partners that can act like extensions of their own teams. They don't want to have to educate agencies about their specific industry, but demand seasoned specialists who already understand their businesses so well that conversations quickly lead to action.

This partnership requires more than an agency that acts like a yes-man; it calls for innovative ideation and outside-the-box thinking that challenges the status quo. CMOs want their agency to bring new perspectives, while engaging in-house experts in thoughtful, productive dialogues.

Most importantly, CMOs want an agency that understands the big picture of their work and can stitch together different marketing silos, from PR, to demand generation to advertising. This requires a partnership with an agency the CMO can trust to provide the integrated capabilities, full-scale strategies, and visible analytics that will help organize and unite departments, campaigns and staffers, as they all work together to achieve common goals.

At Parallel Path, we pride ourself on rising above the 'supplier' mentality to serve as a strategic partner for our clients. We are Solutionists. Always looking for ways to add value beyond our channel expertise. Get to know us and contact us when you are ready to Start Winning Digital.

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