8 Solutions to the Biggest Challenges Facing CMOs in 2023



the ultimate guide to cmo challenges

CMOs already face multiple challenges unique to their position, and with the incredible twists and turns we’ve all been experiencing this year, CMOs have been thrust into a totally new world—one where the old marketing rules no longer apply. 

Amidst a global pandemic, everyone turned to social media and digital platforms to connect and engage with friends, family, and brands alike. To succeed, CMOs will need the resilience and flexibility to confront some of the unique marketing challenges they’re facing in 2023. 

We’ll explore eight of those challenges, as well as potential solutions.

What does the role of CMO entail? 

The role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) entails leading an organization’s marketing initiatives and overseeing developing and delivering marketing strategies and campaigns. This may include responsibility for market research and analysis, brand management, product marketing, digital and traditional advertising, promotions, public relations, and event marketing. A CMO serves as a liaison between the company and its customers, ensuring that the marketing efforts accurately reflect the brand and effectively communicate with the target audience.

CMO Challenges and Solutions

1. Balancing traditional and digital marketing

As traditional and digital marketing channels continue to grow and evolve, CMOs must find the right balance to reach their target audience effectively. Traditional marketing methods, such as print ads and radio commercials, can still be highly effective, but they are not always the most efficient way to reach a targeted, engaged audience. Digital marketing, on the other hand, provides a wealth of opportunities to reach customers through channels such as social media, email, and search engine marketing. To find the right balance, CMOs should conduct research to understand the channels and methods their target audience is most likely to use and then create a marketing mix that incorporates both traditional and digital methods.


  • Create a balanced marketing mix that incorporates both traditional and digital methods
  • Conduct thorough research to determine which methods will work best for your target audience
  • Create a marketing mix that is tailored to your specific needs

2. Data privacy and security

As technology advances, the importance of data privacy and security is becoming increasingly apparent. CMOs must ensure that they are following best practices to protect customer data and maintain the trust of their customers. This includes implementing solid data privacy and security policies, as well as regularly reviewing and updating these policies to ensure they are up-to-date and effective.

CMOs must also ensure they use secure methods for collecting, storing, and using customer data. This includes using encryption, firewalls, and other security measures to protect customer data from theft or unauthorized access. Additionally, CMOs should implement strict data access controls to ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive customer data.

To remain compliant with privacy regulations such as GDPR, CMOs must also be familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding data privacy and security, and ensure that their practices align with these regulations. 


  • Use security measures to protect customer data
  • Obtain consent from customers for the collection and use of their data and be 

 clear and transparent information about how their data will be used

  • Balance traditional and digital marketing 

3. Difficult to measure qualitatively, making it hard to justify expenses and resources to other members of the C-suite.

Enter market research methods. 

While qualitative research alone lacks the robustness of a data-driven argument, combining qualitative research—focus groups and customer interviews, for example—and quantitative research methods can prove the efficacy of any marketing campaign. 

Clever survey design and analysis is one quantitative method to put into practice to support your qualitative efforts. Polls, too, provide data that can add to the information gleaned from personal interviews and form a solid, fact-based argument. 

With this two-pronged approach, you can ensure everyone will understand and appreciate your data.

More intangible, user-centered information will always be valuable, but it only tells part of the story. Never underestimate the power of a good story, and don’t forget to focus on the big picture. Think of your company’s mission and goals, and try to align with them. If your team shares the same goals as your C-suite, you can more easily communicate your needs.


  • Make a straightforward case for your marketing needs, with organizational strategy always in mind
  • Combine qualitative and quantitative research methods to glean the best data to present
  • Focus on the big picture and your story
  1. Ability to pivot quickly due to a fast-changing landscape

During COVID-19, digital marketing has become even more important. Everyone is online and engaging, especially with brands. More resources are going toward social and mobile marketing efforts since that’s where the audience is. It can’t be overstated: now is the time to work on your online presence and cultivate a sincere and transparent brand. Audiences are looking for genuine connections.

Overwhelmingly, it pays to reach out to users in tailored ways to provide a customized experience. You can pivot by recognizing the monumental societal shift happening and respond with honesty and empathy. As a society, we navigated the pandemic with uncertainty, but some trends are apparent. Stay on top of the trends but work within the guidelines of your particular organizational strategy.

Remember that we are now looking at what a post-COVID landscape will look like.


  • Tailor your messaging to a specific audience on a particular platform
  • Hone your digital marketing skills to engage your audience on social media
  • Aim for transparency

5. The unique challenge of misattribution of successes and failures. 

One way of combating this is to make sure to use all of your collective communication skills to translate marketing efforts into tangible results. Data-driven research is one way of showing clearly that marketing translates to revenue. Utilizing the research methods mentioned above, before and after a campaign, can help demonstrate that your marketing team is mission-critical.

It also pays to think of marketing as an investment rather than an expense. By investing in the organization’s future, you’re fostering growth. Being future-thinking will help you align with your C-suite’s goals.


  • Clearly communicate marketing efforts and value 
  • Translate marketing into tangible results
  • Make the case for marketing as an investment in your organization’s future

6. Unclear or uncommunicated expectations

It’s true that CMOs often operate within a black box. By communicating the value of marketing efforts upfront, you can help set the C-suite’s expectations. Show evidence of past successful campaigns. Compare your organization’s mission to your marketing projections. The more of a role you play in setting expectations, the better.

By helping to define the marketing forecast, you’ll instill confidence in the C-suite that you are valuable and knowledgeable. Most importantly, they’ll know what to expect from you in the future.


  • Communicate value upfront to help set expectations
  • Show evidence of other successful campaigns
  • Use your communications skills

7. Amorphous job description than other C-suite executives leads to issues.

With a hard-to-pin-down job description, CMOs are nothing if not dynamic. Learn to lean on the expertise of other marketing professionals in the field to get a sense of where the ship is being steered. Remember, especially now, we’re in this together. Think of 2020 as a collaborative moment and opportunity for connection.

Link up with associations and attend virtual conferences to pool resources and share solutions with other professionals.


  • Stay abreast of marketing trends and where the field is going
  • Learn from others in the marketing field
  • Make the most of virtual conferences and meetups

8. Manage changing technology.

It’s essential to design your campaigns expecting change to occur—but at the same time, you’ve always got to remember your organization’s mission. 

Platforms and technology will shift. Practicing social listening can help you assess where your organization stands in the social media climate. To do this, follow your organization’s name on social media and see what people are saying. Follow hashtags for relevant content. Review your analytics. There are lots of ways to see which platforms are currently doing well and with which demographics.

Overall, keep your strategy in mind to help you navigate the changing landscape. Be open and flexible, and never shy away from repurposing your content.


  • Practice social listening
  • Follow hashtags
  • Review your analytics

Looking ahead

The role of CMOs in 2023 is increasingly complex and challenging, but with the right strategies and tools in place, it is possible to overcome the biggest challenges facing them. Whether it is balancing traditional and digital marketing, ensuring data privacy and security, or adapting to the rapidly changing technological landscape, CMOs must be agile, proactive, and innovative in their approach. 

By staying informed and up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices, CMOs can stay ahead of the curve and succeed in their role, even in the face of the most challenging circumstances. Ultimately, the key to success for CMOs in 2023 will be to stay focused, adaptable, and forward-thinking in their approach to marketing.


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