Type to search

The CMO of 2018 undoubtedly sits on the board: Simplot’s Tara Lordsmith looks ahead

Change Makers

The CMO of 2018 undoubtedly sits on the board: Simplot’s Tara Lordsmith looks ahead


This article by Tara Lordsmith, general manager marketing for Simplot, was first published in the June-July issue of Marketing, as part of a collection of essays from senior Australian and international marketers, titled ‘2018: A skills odyssey’. 

We asked each respondent to look five years into the future, at what a future CMO’s core competencies, technical knowledge, and role within a business will be in the year 2018. Here’s what Lordsmith wrote.


The chief marketing officer in today’s FMCG environment possesses classical brand, category and product management skills. The marketing department spends a significant amount of time on gathering consumer and customer insights, preparing marketing plans, developing new products, creating advertising and promotional campaigns and reporting on results. The CMO’s role is typically varied and requires the ability to be both analytical and creative at times, while keeping many stakeholders engaged along the way.

I believe the CMO’s role in 2018 will be all this and more. A 2012 study by the Australian Marketing Institute stated that over 70% of those surveyed believed that the main changes to marketing as a profession in the next five years will be all about social and digital. And I couldn’t agree more. The CMO of 2018 needs to be technology savvy, socially connected and able to measure consumer behaviour in entirely new ways.

The exponential growth in social media has now created a viable channel for CMOs to consider. Social networking surpasses email with over 1.9 billion social users globally, according to ComScore. ‘Big data’ will not be an output but rather an input into creating business strategy. In 2009 alone, humans created more data than all previous years combined. Imagine 2018, where in merely one month more data is created than the whole of 2009!

Technology is changing the way consumers, customers and employees receive and seek out information. As information is moving to the cloud and access to information is becoming a commodity, consumers now have the power to decide what information they see and what they don’t. Consumers are more likely to trust a referral than an advertisement. Either way, it needs to be relevant and entertaining. By 2018, there will be more than one mobile-connected device for every person on Earth. CMOs need to factor these seismic changes into their marketing plans in order to attract and retain customers.

This presents a wonderful opportunity for CMOs globally to demonstrate the enormous value they can bring to their organisation. The CMO in 2018 has more power than ever as they sit on valuable information about who, why, where and what is consumed from their business. Even more power when they work with their creative agencies to create brand-building content that influences consumers to buy. The ROI proves marketing is an investment, not a cost. The CMO of 2018 undoubtedly sits on the board.


Now read what the other respondents said: 

Ray Kloss, SAP: Team-building the CMO’s imperative
Stephan Heimbach, Siemens: Courage, resilience and doing more with less



You Might also Like

Leave a Comment