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Three quarters of CMOs are now responsible for contributing to business growth and the use of data and technology

28 Sep 2021

PARIS, September 28, 2021 – The rapid growth in ecommerce during the pandemic has heightened the need for real-time insights to accommodate fast-changing customer behavior. Accordingly, CMOs’ responsibilities are shifting, and around three quarters are now responsible for contributing to business growth (76%) and data and technology (74%). This is according to the latest Capgemini Research Institute report, A new playbook for chief marketing officers: Why CMOs should enable real-time marketing to drive sustained growth. Despite the CMO’s new data-focused responsibilities, only 12% of marketers have the requisite data access, capabilities, and talent to drive and extract high value from real-time marketing.

Real-time marketing can process, analyze, and leverage data at its point of entry to swiftly enhance digital commerce campaigns, content and marketing outputs. The report signals that data-driven marketers enjoy improved brand awareness, customer satisfaction, conversion rates and customer retention.

Although all marketers are using data in some way, most are not applying it to drive marketing decisions. For instance, only 43% of marketers say their teams use data to decide a go-to-market strategy for a new product or service, and 40% use data to modify their campaign strategies. Similarly, 42% say that, by harnessing data, their team has been able to be more agile in responding to customer and market needs.

  • Data-driven marketers[1] – those who process, analyze, and leverage data to fine tune campaigns and content and marketing outputs – enjoy numerous benefits: 88% said they can adapt and change content based on real-time data, compared to 38% of traditional marketers.
  • 93% were highly satisfied with their real-time marketing initiatives, compared to 46% of traditional marketers.
  • 54% of data-driven marketers said the benefits of real-time marketing exceeded their expectations.

The CMO shifts focus

For traditional marketers (who do not qualify as ‘data-driven’), catching up with high-performing rivals is necessitating a fundamental shift in roles, skills and capabilities. Capgemini research has identified that this change is occurring first and foremost at the top of the marketing ladder, characterized by a shift towards greater control and decision-making among CMOs.

Along with a responsibility for data and technology, around a third of CMOs are directly responsible for gathering and understanding consumer and market intelligence, trends, and for overseeing marketing technologies such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools or marketing-automation platforms.

Meanwhile, 60% say they are involved in critical decisions related to growth and long-term value, such as growth strategy and new product development.

Opportunity to transform skills and capabilities

Despite the changes in CMOs’ duties and skills, the shift is not sufficiently reflected in the marketing function more broadly. To enable data-driven marketing, CMOs will need to address a broader tech capability and skills deficit. Less than half of marketers say they have established the data and technology capabilities needed to deliver data-driven marketing, highlighting a significant opportunity to transform.

For instance:

  • 45% have a customer data platform that provides a unified and a single view of customers, and 47% have a framework for data collection that defines what data will be collected, what its purpose is and how it will be utilized.
  • 44% say they have an adequate supply of skills in areas such as AI and machine learning, or data analytics and data science.
  • Less than half (45%) have social digital-marketing skills, and a similar proportion (46%) say they have sufficient skills in augmented and virtual reality.

In order to close these skills gaps, marketing departments will seek to bring more work in-house, according to the report. Overall, half of marketers agree that their organizations are trying to build internal skills and capabilities over partnering with outside vendors.

  • Currently 81% of marketers partner with agencies for activities including branding, marketing strategy and digital marketing.
  • Nearly two thirds (60%) partner with data providers, while slightly under half (46%) work with marketing-technology firms (e.g., cloud marketing, CRM).
  • Today, 24% say they will bring that capability in-house within the next two to three years.

Jean-Pierre Villaret, Head of frog Europe, part of Capgemini Invent says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitization in a way no one could have predicted. Customer-data volumes are growing as online sales increase. This provides a host of opportunities for CMOs and marketing departments to better understand and serve their customers. And, a section of marketers are achieving the full potential of data-driven, real-time marketing and realizing the benefits it brings with regards to brand awareness, customer satisfaction, retention, and conversion. The task now – for the vast majority of marketers – is to modernize their data capabilities and up-and-reskill their workforces in order to stay competitive against these data-driven high flyers.”

For those CMOs seeking to make the move towards being data-driven, Capgemini has identified six critical focus areas to prepare for a data-driven marketing environment:

  • Create a clear vision for the marketing strategy
  • Implement a framework-driven data collection process
  • Ensure talent is equipped with a baseline of data and creative skills while allowing for specialists
  • Accelerate collaboration across the marketing ecosystem
  • Reimagine the customer journey with real-time engagement
  • Integrate long-term brand building and short-term marketing engagements


The Capgemini Research Institute surveyed over 1,600 marketing executives with a business-to-consumer (B2C) focus and representing a range of industries, including automotive, banking, consumer goods, insurance, retail, telecom, and utilities, from around the world. Capgemini also conducted in-depth interviews with 25 CMOs and other marketing executives.

Further information is available in the full report, which can be downloaded here.

Notes to Editors

For the purposes of this research, Capgemini defines data-driven and real-time marketing as follows:

Data-driven marketing is the approach of driving marketing strategies, campaign initiatives, and content based upon analysis and insights derived from customer data, including customer interactions and engagements. Data-driven marketers process, analyze, and leverage data to fine tune campaigns and content and marketing outputs. By taking a data-driven approach, they also gain deeper understanding of consumers and trends and target consumers with personalized and relevant offers and services.

To qualify as data-driven, respondents were assessed against three critical data dimensions: data culture and importance, data availability and gathering, and cross-functional collaboration, as well as two technology dimensions: platforms and tools, and marketing and IT collaboration.

Real-time marketing is marketing performed at the moment, with an appropriate approach as suited to the customer, and relevant to the time and place while still driving the brand value proposition. Data-driven marketers lead in real-time marketing with their data-driven capabilities and ability to respond quickly, thereby driving real-time customer experience as suited to each customer’s needs, wants, and behavior.

About Capgemini

Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organization of 290,000 team members in nearly 50 countries. With its strong 50 year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fueled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group reported in 2020 global revenues of €16 billion.

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About the Capgemini Research Institute

The Capgemini Research Institute is Capgemini’s in-house think-tank on all things digital. The Institute publishes research on the impact of digital technologies on large traditional businesses. The team draws on the worldwide network of Capgemini experts and works closely with academic and technology partners. The Institute has dedicated research centers in India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was recently ranked #1 in the world for the quality of its research by independent analysts.

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[1] See Notes to Editors for a definition of data-driven marketing