• Canadian marketers expanding responsibilities to include data ethics and data analytics in the next five years.
  • Marketers must harness the ‘science’ of data and combine it with the ‘art’ of influence.

June 1, 2020: The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), in partnership with research agency 2CV, the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and 27 other national advertiser associations around the world have released a new report examining the marketer of the future. It is the most comprehensive international research conducted to date, identifying the components necessary to ensure marketing continues to thrive in companies of all geographies.

Canadian marketers typically have responsibilities ranging across an average of eight distinct areas, from marketing strategy (92%) through to data ethics (33%), brand purpose (72%) through to sustainability (22%). Canadian results align with the global averages on each of the eight areas, with the exception of PR, which was below the global average.

The study, entitled The CMO Conundrum and the Search for the Unicorn Marketer, involved responses from 683 senior marketers around the world, as well as in-depth interviews with marketing leaders at blue-chip brands such as Diageo, Mastercard and Unilever.

Many of the current responsibilities for senior marketers identified were also expected to become more important over the next five years, with 89% and 75% of Canadian marketers predicting that data ethics and data analytics would grow in importance, respectively. In addition, 69% of marketers expect innovation to rise in importance and 67% expect sustainability to play a larger role.

Alongside these specific areas, the majority of Canadian respondents also agreed that general business acumen and entrepreneurialism are two important skills required for their roles, but that need improvement. Top mentions for soft skills for Canadian marketers were curiosity, flexibility, logic and creativity.

While there have been rumblings from the industry that the CMO role is dying out, this survey suggests that marketers believe the role is more important than ever but will increasingly demand a wider skillset. Relatedly, Canadian marketers overwhelmingly identified a need for more ongoing training and development.

While the report does highlight some of the marketing profession’s failure to demonstrate value to senior colleagues, only 20% of marketers globally agree that the role of CMO won’t exist in 10 years’ time.

Finally, the report also highlights the power of marketing as a source of internal and external change. Purpose has been much talked about over recent years but the CMO is perfectly positioned to track consumer sentiment and help the wider business respond to or even lead changes that benefit the wider community.

Globally, 84% think marketing should transcend business goals and have a positive impact on wider society and 92% agree that “using data in an ethical way is vital for the sustainability of digital marketing”.