CMOs recognise a "critical and permanent shift" in the way they engage with customers, but question whether their marketing organisations are prepared to manage the change.
That's the conclusion from an extensive new study from IBM, who interviewed 1,700 CMOs around the world, including 92 in the UK.
However, technological knowledge is low on the sample CMOs' agenda - when asked which attributes they will need to be personally successful over the next three to five years, only 28 per cent said technological competence, and 25 per cent said social media expertise.
"The inflection point created by social media represents a permanent change in the nature of customer relationships," says Carolyn Heller Baird, CRM research lead for the IBM Institute for Business Value and the global director of the study. "Approximately 90 per cent of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMOs who successfully harness this new source of insight will be in a strong position to increase revenues, reinvent their customer relationships and build new brand value."
The survey found that ROI is key for modern CMOs - 63 per cent believe ROI on marketing spend will be the most important measure of their success by 2015. However, only 44 per cent feel fully prepared to be held accountable for marketing ROI.
A lack of influence over relevant aspects of the business is another key finding from the survey - less than half the CMOs surveyed felt they had sufficient sway over pricing or product development or channel selection.