By Rick Delgado

The marketing world is on the move, and that means your Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) better be up to the challenge of moving with it. The traditional CMO has usually done an effective job as they’ve crafted carefully planned marketing campaigns pushing specific products or services. In many cases, it was all about building up the brand through more traditional media channels. Much of that has changed over the past decade, as digital platforms have exploded onto the scene in ways that would have been difficult to predict years ago. The result is a changing role for the modern CMO. Many businesses have needed to understand this, looking for the right individual to fill that role, but picking out what skills today’s CMOs need is far from an easy task. If you’re in the market for a new CMO, here are just a few of the skills and talents you should be on the lookout for when making your pick.

Taking risks is something that has to be done in the business world, but marketing has largely tried to mitigate those risks. Under traditional media, marketing campaigns can get to be quite expensive, and marketing departments have needed to work with large budgets to make it all work. Under the new digital landscape, however, purchasing ads and running campaigns becomes a whole lot cheaper. That means the modern CMO should be willing to take more risks, try out different types of campaigns, and hire those who are more curious about experimenting with new technologies and techniques. The modern CMO should embrace this newfound freedom, even to the point where they’re willing to change up campaigns at any moment.

Understands Big Data
One of the new technologies turning the marketing world on its head is that of big data analytics. With advances in infrastructure and software defined storage, big data has taken off in the past few years, and modern CMOs need to know how best to utilize it. Big data is used for more accurate segmentation, helping marketing teams target certain portions of the population for their campaigns and ads. This helps in the creation of content that will appeal to customers more than ever before, leading to better responses. You’ll need to look for a CMO that wants to use analytics in campaigns, understands the impact the technology has on the industry, and knows the ways it can be used to even create new segments that will lead to better results.

Ready for Change
The modern CMO needs to be a force for change within their own organization. For obvious reasons, CMOs that hold onto more traditional thinking will quickly find that they are being left behind, and the organization they’re a part of will suffer as a result. The CMO you’re looking for shouldn’t just accept waves of changes reluctantly, they should be open to embracing them. They need to prize having a more agile marketing department and include innovative ideas whenever appropriate. Modern CMOs need to learn how to change with the times and adapt accordingly. Beyond technological changes, they also need to keep up with the changing needs to customers, since what people want from a company today is different from what they wanted twenty years ago.

Collaborative Thinking
The traditional mindset of business leaders is to isolate marketing teams from the rest of the organization. The thinking is that marketing departments have their own responsibilities and should handle it on their own. This is an outdated mindset, and the modern CMO should be someone who encourages collaboration between multiple departments across the entire organization. The CMO you want in your company is the person that will work hard at tearing down those silos and work with others in an effort to establish brand consistency. Ideas from other departments could prove extremely beneficial in creating an effective marketing campaign, and collaboration provides the avenue whereby these ideas can flourish.

These are only a few of the skills you’ll want to look for when choosing a new CMO. With how rapidly the marketing world is changing, these talents will be absolutely essential to ensure your company’s marketing teams are working at peak performance. Modern CMOs have plenty of challenges ahead of them, but with the right mindset, skills, and determination, they’ll be ready to overcome those challenges and help their organizations reach new levels of success.

Rick Delgado is a technology commentator and writer. Follow him @ricknotdelgado.