Kevin KrimApril 19, 20234 min read

CMOs Can Still Win the Boardroom in a Downturn

If you’re in the 1% of orgs that are not political, good for you.

For the rest of most senior marketers in this moment (but let’s be honest, always), every monthly/quarterly review is a…tricky place. Your head of product is wondering why you can’t market their innovations better. Your head of sales is blaming you for not getting customers and key accounts excited enough to make product fly off the shelves. And all you’ve got is a slick creative deck, a flowchart with some GRPs, and/or some brand survey results. 

But if that’s all you’ve got, you’re not just bringing a knife to a gunfight, you’re bringing a stage knife that collapses every time you try to use it. 

The demands on CMOs have evolved significantly, with companies now having access to vast amounts of data that informs everything from supply chain planning to cross-functional coordination for their next brand campaign to how effective the campaign spend was in moving product. And in turn, the CMO role has become one of dual expectations: the need to synthesize what worked in the past with what will work in the future. 

When companies spend money on marketing, they accept popularity and accolades, but they expect a direct correlation to increased sales. 

Modern Marketers have been waiting for this moment. 

CMOs (and their CFOs) increasingly need to ensure every dollar spent on TV – broadcast, cable, streaming, or video on demand – translates to tangible, predictable business results. While the marketing game has changed since the days of “Mad Men,” one truth remains evident: TV advertising still works incredibly well. 

As modern marketers, it’s our job to make the most of it. 

Technology to the rescue?

Marketing trailblazers who excel at both exploring new opportunities and exploiting existing capabilities are rare, and it’s a mystery how they do it. However, there are a select few CMOs who have cracked the code and mastered this balancing act:

They stay focused on outcomes. 

In the boardroom, CMOs are judged by whether their marketing efforts directly tie to the business’s core needs. While the CFO might traditionally be the only member of the C-suite primarily charged with outcomes, CMOs are expected to do so much more. 

Sure, technology can help. CMOs often have the largest tech stack in the board room – and it’s not particularly close. There are customer relationships, content management, budgets, and a thousand other things to monitor. 

For many, it’s just too much. 

A 2022 Gartner report found marketers use just 42% of their tech stack’s capabilities. Marketers’ ability to use all the data at their hands is getting worse. In 2019, Gartner reported marketers were using 58% of their tech stack. 

Is there a stunningly simple solution? No. Don Draper’s not walking through that door. But EDO has the next best thing: verifiable, instant feedback on how your marketing campaigns are working – and suggestions for how to make them better in real-time. 

Mindful Innovation

There’s nothing wrong with advertising during the Super Bowl. If that’s where your audience is, and if you will get a verifiable ROI, you should advertise during every commercial break. 

But marketing isn’t always about a big splash. There are events year-round that draw passionate audiences. Marketers would be wise to look at smaller events and shows that have a higher efficacy rate. 

Modern marketers need to take the guesswork out of TV advertising. If you have one creative, can you see which channels, shows, and times are the most effective and predict which unknown variables might work best? If you have three creatives, how do you know which ad works best in real-time — and which to drop from rotation? 

CMOs need their spending to be effective. They need to be able to show their homework, so board members can see that marketing strategies drive outcomes. You must do more than simply demonstrate how many viewers watched a show. You need a path to actionable results.

Targeting opportunities

Of course, there’s a challenging season ahead for marketers. Summer is when linear TV ratings take their annual dip. This is a challenge dating back to forever in advertising, but one that has evolved into an opportunity for the savvy CMO to become more in sync with convergent TV.

There are many paths forward, but we’re not trying to convince you to just spend more on advertising. This is about optimizing TV for tough times. For the same spend, a CMO can buy spots on a different network or platform and get double the return on investment. Are you looking at all the data available and identifying opportunities? 

Now more than ever, when it comes to building brands, today’s CMOs must get more effective at what/how/where they invest in advertising. It’s not just about buying spots. It’s about finding the ones that deliver actual outcomes. It’s about better ROI, less waste, and sustained long-term results, and doing so while keeping an eye on what’s worked, and an eye on whatever cutting-edge technologies are coming over the horizon to help support what will work.

We get it.

We know CMOs already have enough on their plates – but now’s not the time for three-martini lunches. At least, not today.


Know What Works. Always.

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