The smart solve: How CMOs can make change a good thing

Strategies for adapting to the ever-evolving marketing landscape


Businesses, like consumers, prefer interactions that eliminate complexity rather than adding more layers. In this post, we look at several steps CMOs can take to solve the complexity of change by improving marketing operations seamlessly.

Get to the good part faster

Fewer steps and less frequent halts in the process of accomplishing a task or completing a transaction allow consumers or businesses to get what they want faster. For marketers, more efficient processes can accelerate conversions and scale revenues. But doing something better means changing or abandoning what went before. When the change management process works as it should, it can quickly add value to the entire organization. When change management fails, it can do so slowly and with great expense. For CMOs, process seamlessness across marketing operations is more than a user experience goal – it determines business resilience and long-term success. 

The takeaway:

Optimize marketing processes in a holistic way, with a focus on how the entire organization manages the value of resources and teams. Leverage fresh insights to identify inefficient workflows and customer-facing interactions that may drain team productivity and hinder customer engagement.

Be agile

Making front-office operations and processes more efficient often means transforming workflows, MarTech, or sales processes “live.” It can entail creating new ways of thinking about and working with day-to-day decisions and tasks that teams actively engage in—and cannot pause as innovations roll out. That means CMOs may have to pace the integration of critical innovations over time and use stopgaps as teams are trained, and technologies are tested. That represents an investment of time and resources—something that can be challenging to justify, even amid change that requires better performance.

The takeaway:

Keep it real. Integrate new technologies and innovative tools based on their immediate and long-term relevance to revenue goals and pace their introduction according to their ease-of-use and real-world benefit to day-to-day workflow demands.

Manage more with less

Although sales and marketing teams drive and sustain revenue flows, the front office must often do more with less when change makes cost efficiency a new priority. From promoting spend transparency to reimagining buyer and seller experiences to boost front-office team performance, CMOs are tasked with simplifying and integrating the most unwieldy solutions while navigating new revenue challenges—something that can be a challenge on a tight budget.

The takeaway:

Look at resource optimization as key to the “health” of your organization and focus new investment on tools that help teams, technology, and data use fewer hours, people, and less effort to meet revenue benchmarks.

Agility, transparency, and impossibility?

Decision-making agility is a top priority for CMOs—but it starts as a process, not a simple choice. The ability to quickly make decisions that transform strategy, workflows, and budget allocations in response to change is dependent on the efficacy of the processes behind those decisions. The right customer data, true visibility across spending, an accurate assessment of technical debt, and real-time MarTech performance are just some of the prerequisites for CMOs to maintain an agile response to new challenges. When CMOs are not gifted with a perfect storm of human resources, opportunities, and technical assets to manage change, they must rely on their creativity to do the impossible, building what they need out of thin air. That brings us back to processes—making workflows, interactions, and insights work faster and yield better results.

New rules, better results

Process governance isn’t just about rules. Here we use it to refer to a new way of thinking about decision-making – as processes within systems – rather than ideas or choices that are accepted or rejected. When a decision is made and thought of as a process, not a choice, it is reviewed from every relevant perspective, from how it may impact front-office workflows to the weight and freshness of the data that inspired it. One asks:

  • Will it work?
    Do we have the human and technical resources to make this decision meet its end goal?
  • Is it simple?
    Are the parameters of the decision clear and connected explicitly to our revenue, customer experience, or branding goals?
  • Is it smart?
    Will this decision, as a process, use resources efficiently to add value continuously over time?

Start to reimagine organization-wide change

For businesses looking for areas to improve, these are four key areas to examine, with questions to ask:

  • Performance Measurement: Do we have a comprehensive, modern system for measuring marketing performance across all relevant platforms? Do we monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer acquisition, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction?
  • Workflows: Do we have well-articulated, clearly defined workflows that enable teams to use their time efficiently and adjust their workflows to match resource levels? Do we optimize the value of our human and technical resources with an understanding that our people require personalized and unique support?
  • Technology Integration: Can we integrate new technologies into our existing systems without undue disruption? Do we have the resources to quickly troubleshoot and review solutions that fail to fulfill their purpose and add value?
  • Program and Change Management: Do we have a set of process governance principles in place that allow us to identify, launch and integrate robust, scalable solutions that encompass front-office teams, technology integration, and analytics when change demands? 

Next, lay the groundwork for effective change management

Change—whether in the marketplace or within an organization—often brings with it new demands for heightened transparency, performance monitoring, and agility in decision-making, especially in marketing departments. 

Yet, integrating new performance-focused technologies takes time and frequently monopolizes resources, leading to productivity drain. In addition, professional knowledge gaps among teams can lead to inter-departmental friction when new tools or processes are introduced, even if they are meant to optimize resources.

Despite its importance, managing core marketing processes and interactions more efficiently can be simple. Here are three first steps to decouple complexity from critical processes:

Get ready for change

Leverage technology to streamline manual processes and integrate selective automation to reduce time spent on inefficient tasks.

Maintain universal spend visibility

Simplify resource management decision-making by using modern spend analysis, tracking and management tools to monitor spending and redirect resources toward customer value.

Build a data-driven marketing process model

Identify resource-intensive processes and use real-time performance data to modify revenue and cost estimates to promote cost efficiency.


As a result of these challenges, payers must contend these issues:

Direct to consumer and broker-led selling is sub-optimized as they fall outside commercial employer models

Small payers will need to be more nimble to counteract larger portfolios. Large payers will need to coordinate across disparate offerings and teams

Traditional selling teams will need to adapt how they bring offerings to market or risk getting flanked by more nimble digital-native competitors

Value props for internally created offerings will need to be well-articulated, inexpensive and demonstrate results. If they are not, payers will want to quickly find partners and platforms to co-selling

New market entrants will have to compete for sales talent with high salaries

They must carve out customer niches that were once well protected

As you focus on the challenges ahead, KPMG Customer Advisory can help you improve the ROI of your marketing investments by informing strategies for marketing technology, marketing operations and processes, and talent management with connected insights. If you have identified front-office challenges within your organization, reach out to one of our Customer Advisory contacts below.

Contact us

Jason Galloway

Jason Galloway

Principal, US Customer Advisory COE Lead and US Customer Advisory Leader, Commercial Industries, KPMG US

+1 636-614-4250
Bret Sanford-Chung

Bret Sanford-Chung

Managing Director, Customer Advisory, Marketing Consulting, KPMG US

+1 212-758-9700