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Brand Strategy Agency Models B2B Marketing

Which CMO are you: a trail blazer or a flame thrower?


By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

March 13, 2024 | 7 min read

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CMOs from BT, Halfords, HSBC, M&S, Samsung and Tesco share perspectives on new research from AAR and The Drum exploring the ‘burning platforms’ of the modern marketing ecosystem.

Burning platforms: how CMOs are navigating a changing marketing ecosystem.

Burning platforms: how CMOs are navigating a changing marketing ecosystem.

Finding growth in an uncertain economic environment and proving the effectiveness of marketing spend are paramount challenges for CMOs – but 59% of 100 UK senior marketing leaders say their marketing ecosystems aren’t designed to keep up with the speed of change.

That’s according to ‘Burning Platforms’, a new report from AAR and The Drum, which serves as the industry’s temperature check on the concerns and challenges keeping CMOs awake at night within their marketing ecosystem and explores how brands are navigating them.

The research finds that the majority (59%) of senior marketing decision makers have made significant changes to their people, partners, processes and platforms – notably through team restructures, agile processes, more automation and experimenting with AI to drive creativity – but they are still struggling to make everything work well together.

Most place themselves in the ‘Flame Thrower’ category of the Trail Blazer Benchmark, which tracks the journey to achieving operational effectiveness in how their model is designed, iterated and measured.

From the challenges with upskilling internal talent to changing expectations of agency partners, unfulfilled potential from martech investments to disjointed measurement metrics and the proof of impact, the research explores the ‘what’ and ‘how’ behind the organizational design of the marketing ecosystem and optimizing marketing operating models for the future.

As the role of the CMO becomes more challenging and complex, 76% of marketing leaders express optimism that the role will continue to grow in relevance as they gain a greater opportunity to influence change at board level – but it requires a balance between driving marketing and operational strategy to support that vision to be able to drive business growth.

The research is supported by qualitative insights from Becky Moffat, CMO, HSBC UK; Benjamin Braun, CMO, Samsung Europe; Dan Daly, group marketing director, Halfords; Emma Botton, group customer director, Tesco; Helen Whetton, brand and marketing director, BT Business; and Sharry Cramond, marketing director and director of loyalty, M&S.

Download the full report to explore the ‘burning platforms’ in more depth, and to discover the agile approaches to marketing ecosystem design needed to unlock growth and ROI in the ever-changing economic environment, including:

  • Why 47% of CMOs say they aren’t the measuring the right things or are measuring but learning nothing, and how they plan to fix disjointed metrics and reporting

  • Why 75% say there’s a talent crisis in marketing – particularly in data roles – and how leading brands are upskilling talent to meet new marketing demands

  • Why 81% of CMOs plan to focus on creating a clear, agile model with connected agencies working together on integrated briefs, and how they are breaking down silos.

Brand Strategy Agency Models B2B Marketing

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