CMOs of global companies are now confronted with unparalleled challenges—and opportunities:

Marketing accountability: It is no secret that CEOs are demanding greater ROI on their marketing investments. Consequently, many CMOs are driving initiatives to make the marketing function more accountable and measurable.

Globalization: Serving global markets necessitates that marketing coordinate campaigns across continents to leverage cost and synchronize messaging; however, campaigns must also meet local needs and norms.

Complex consumer expectations: Consumers have become increasingly vigilant about spam and privacy. Compliance with the regulations of each country and state is mandatory.

Mergers and acquisition (M&A) integration: Frequent M&A places constant demands to rapidly integrate messaging, Web, and collateral of newly acquired companies into the corporate brand. Inadequate marketing budgets frequently associated with acquisitions place additional stress on existing budget priorities.

New marketing technology: The advent of new internet technology has enabled unprecedented interactive dialog with customers. This presents a huge opportunity for forward-thinking companies to target and reach customers in personalized ways. However, new technologies must be implemented and integrated across the world with regional marketing teams that execute campaigns locally.

Stakeholder agreement: Coordination with regional marketing groups, product business units, and sales is a major task. Processes are needed to prioritize and support new product introductions and demand generation within marketing budget constraints. Terms such as "What constitutes a qualified lead?" need to be standardized worldwide. Otherwise, roll-up, visibility, and accountability via actionable CMO and campaign dashboards become nearly impossible.

Marketing Operations Emerges as a Discipline

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Adrian Carol Ott is CEO of Exponential Edge Inc. ( and the author of The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy (HarperBusiness, August 2010). Reach her via Twitter: and