According to Harvard Business Review, CMOs have lowest average tenure of anyone in the C-Suite at just over four years. This stat might be getting worse, considering Forrester predicts CEOs will dismiss at least 30 percent of CMOs who don’t demonstrate whole-brain skills to “drive digital business transformation, design exceptional personalized experiences, and propel growth.”

What does this mean for CMOs and other top-level marketing executives in the healthcare field? If executive marketing roles are on the chopping block, what skills can help professionals beat the odds and secure their positions at their organizations?

#1. Become a consumer behavior expert
Top-level healthcare marketers are expected to know consumers inside and out. According to Blake Morgan’s excellent article in Forbes, it is your responsibility to find and employ new technologies that can help your organization track consumer behavior, attitudes, values, influences, hobbies, and passions. This information will come in handy when you’re asked to predict what consumers will want and need in the future.

#2. Become a consumer experience architect
Morgan went on to say that empowered CMOs must also be adept at creating personalized consumer experiences and tailored interactions. Success in this realm depends on the ability of healthcare organizations to anticipate consumer needs and build powerful consumer experiences.

In Forrester’s “Evolved CMO” research, 40% of survey respondents identified “data insight and analytics skills, technology awareness, and digital understanding as key areas requiring ongoing improvement.” Empowered healthcare marketers never stop learning or making the changes necessary to help their company transform digitally.

Morgan also advised empowered marketing leaders to know when and how to use new technologies, and to build teams that can work faster with technology. The first step is to gain an understanding of emerging technologies, such as AI and chatbots, and to be aware of the opportunities and challenges that these technologies bring. The next is deciding how to best leverage new tech to support consumer engagement efforts and build amazing consumer experiences.

#3. Focus on driving growth
According to this MarketingProfs article by Sam Melnick, becoming an empowered top-level marketer means shifting your organization’s perception of marketing as a cost center towards being seen as growth driver instead. Consider Coca-Cola’s example. The company recently replaced the CMO with a chief growth officer as part of restructuring into a “growth-oriented and consumer-centered organization.”

Melnick went on to explain that the CMO in particular must be equipped to run the business of marketing to make confident investment decisions that drive growth. As an empowered healthcare marketer, you should first know how other departments operate and how marketing impacts them. Next, have solid knowledge of marketing’s financial impact and track it daily so that you can pivot when things aren’t performing as planned. Finally, be able to demonstrate to others in C-suite how marketing is driving business success.

#4. Inform key decisions with data
As we discussed in this recent post, modern healthcare marketing is all about ROI and being able to prove that your efforts measurably drove business. Now, more than ever, empowered healthcare marketers must be data-driven and ROI focused.

According to this Forbes post by Renee Yeager, skilled marketers know how to build a solid strategy to capture, track, and manage those metrics. They also understand which data is meaningful and use their data intelligence to drive important decisions. Once projects are implemented, they then have to be able to demonstrate the impact (in both sales and traffic) of every dollar spent. If a campaign falls short of the mark, marketing leaders can still use what they’ve learned to improve future efforts.

Yeager went on to say that empowered marketers should be digital, data, and consumer savvy. Long-term career success demands that healthcare marketing professionals possess both the creative right brain knack for brand building and developing consumer experiences, and a left-brain mastery of analytics and technology.

Building your skills
If you’d like to hone your skills to become a more empowered healthcare marketer, check out the many resources available through the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD). In particular, the organization’s ADVANCE™ evaluation and learning platform is specifically designed to help healthcare strategists and other professionals build the critical capabilities necessary to succeed in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment.

If you’d like insight specific to your organization, and guidance on how to get started becoming a healthcare marketing hero, request a free healthcare marketing assessment.