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What does the role of CRO mean for marketing?

Explore how the emergence of the chief revenue officer role affects marketing and how marketing and sales teams can benefit from this “merger.”

4 min read

MarketingMarketing Strategy

What does the role of CRO mean for marketing?

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Not too long ago, it was rare to find organizations with a chief revenue officer as a member of their executive team. However, this designation, along with chief commercial officer and chief sales and marketing officer, has increased rapidly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A recent McKinsey study indicated that consumers used much of their time in isolation early in the pandemic to become more educated, and as a result, they do more background checks on companies, comparison shopping and price checking than ever before. 

In addition, research from the University of Alabama and Florida State University Business Schools discussed the changing world of marketing and sales, brought about by what they described as a “more informed consumer.” 

How do we see these shifts manifesting themselves in the modern marketing organization? One way is to observe changes in titles occurring at the C-suite. Just as the addition of the chief diversity officer reflects a societal and business shift, we witness something similar within the marketing discipline.

Here’s why I believe this shift and the addition of titles like CRO are good for business, good for people and good for consumers.

More companies want to plan their omnichannel efforts and measure attribution and ROI across all platforms and groups.

Marketing and sales have become more complicated and have introduced more technologies to support those advancements. We all recognize that the now overused “customer journey” includes touch points that happen at numerous places along that path. 

There is more urgency around consistent messaging and brand integrity. Consumers cannot get one message from a marketing piece, a different message via social media and a third message from a salesperson. This requires more collaborative planning and having all these groups under the same individual places the responsibility for true collaboration on one person.

Marketing and sales have become more similar than dissimilar.

Salespeople have had to adjust and change how they sell. They need to be more knowledgeable and more patient as consumers kick even more tires and consider even more options than ever before. 

Likewise, marketing people have been asked to think more about the people they sell to, their personas and the relationships involved in creating followers, fans and advocates, rather than just potential buyers. 

Dare we say marketers need to think about “relationships,” something previously owned by sales teams. These are good changes, as consumers we benefit from a better and more individualized relationship with the brands we like to use.

Most companies were tired of the sales vs. marketing, channel vs. direct and digital vs. analog conversations dividing their culture and leading nowhere.

Although many leaders may not readily admit this one but it does exists and It eats away at many organizations. Internal groups are competing for budget and attention, and this desire to prove that the work they do is more important than another group can be like a cancer. Most organizations are realizing that a strong and respectful culture will have a positive effect on the efficiencies and performance of the organization. Divisions like these are costly and by merging these groups into one team, we can at least have a path to more unity and a healthier culture.

So the roles of the CRO, CSMO and CCO are not just trendy new designations for old roles. They actually reflect a wholesale shift in how companies operate and how consumer messaging is recognizing the need to be more synchronized. 

Who can we thank for this change? Well, like most great ideas, it comes from the consumer.

Frank Belzer is the chief sales and marketing officer at ICON Park in Orlando, and prior to that he was senior vice president of sales for Universal Parks and Resorts. His expertise and experience include developing domestic and international sales and marketing strategies, mentoring trade partner relationships and improving international business results. He is a board member of Experience Kissimmee, and a past board member and advisor to the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation and past board member of Visit Florida.


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