CMOs Still Out of Digital Loop

In early November, PRSA posted a link to the upcoming webinar on The Digital Transformation that discusses how technology changes the marketplace and impacts PR.

“Technology is driving a digital transformation in the Public Relations industry — and this is not optional.”

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As PR practitioners, we understand the importance of technology and utilizing it to deliver messages to key audiences. Social media has become one of the fastest and easiest ways to directly interact with target publics. Research is the first step in understanding a client, its brand and mission statement. Digital platforms and the client’s website are main resources of information.  After meeting with a client, a campaign proposal is designed with certain tactics to reach a goal, usually involving these digital media platforms. Developing a campaign proposal is a significant part of a PR practitioner’s job, but have we lost momentum after implementation and forgotten to measure the impact of our plan?


This week Adweek released a study by Altimeter that found that there is a disconnect between what Chief Marketing Officers’ (CMOs) perceptions of what is happening with the client’s digital transformation and the reality. Of the Chief Marketing Officials surveyed, 88 percent of their companies were undergoing a digital transformation, but only 25 percent could point to changes that they were actually addressing this.

“CMOs are leading the way in steering their companies in a digital-first direction, but while most believe they’re deeply involved in the transformation, only a quarter actually have a clear understanding of what this means and/or have mapped the digital customer journey.”

The strategies that 71 percent of the CMOs could identify were updating websites and e-commerce for mobile viewing.

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Why do you think there is disconnect between what CMOs want to have happen and the reality? These are the basic fundamentals of a campaign that students learn in college. If the CMOs can’t identify the tactics taking place, then how can they measure their objectives to reach their goals? My concern is that this shows there is a lack of creativity going into the strategies and tactics CMOs and PR practitioners are using, which is leading to a lack of engagement and follow through. This could also have to do with a lack of positive and strong leadership internally. Without measurable results and a clear understanding of the goal, it is hard to have a successful campaign.

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