Is there a place for CMOs in the future of marketing? The EDB’s Dane Lim thinks so

The director of marketing and communication for the Singapore Economic Development Board has said there should be “great optimism” about the continuing relevance of chief marketing officers despite some claims that the CMO is becoming obsolete due to the rise of chief growth officers and chief technology officers.

Dane Lim

Speaking ahead of his participation on a panel session about the future role of CMOs, at the Mumbrella360 Asia media and marketing conference in Singapore this November, Dane Lim admitted that marketers faced real challenges. But he maintained that those equipped with the right “tools and new skills” for a different environment would flourish. 

One way for CMOs to keep moving forward Lim suggested was to partner with consultancy firms such as Deloitte and McKinsey, which have increasingly set their eyes on the creative arena through a number of high-profile agency acquisitions, in order to harness better quality data and insights.

During the Mumbrella360 Asia session titled ‘The Future of the CMO in Asia’, Lim will join R3 principal and co-founder ShuFen Goh and Chope chief executive officer Arrif Ziaudeen. The panel will look at how the role is evolving in the region and the new skills set required for the digital age.

Those attending the session will also be able to gain insights on Asia’s ‘super-consumers’ through research drawn from R3’s recent book Asia CMO: Driving Brand Growth, which gleaned insights from 30 prominent brand experts including those from Coca-Cola and Singtel.

Speaking during a video interview with Mumbrella Asia, Lim said: “The ecosystem has changed dynamically. But I also believe that there is room for great optimism among marketers on what value they can bring to the new marketing landscape.

“There is no doubt that the CMO today is going through challenging times. The future of the CMO has to come from two fronts. First, I strongly believe is the need to build strong consumer insight capabilities in each organisation. This is critical to the success of the CMO. Data is one way to ensure CMOs are making great decisions, and I think what we have done so far in Singapore is really to work with organisations like Deloitte, Nielsen and McKinsey to build these capabilities for companies.

“Second, I also believe that the CMO moving forward will have to get closer to the sales team. That means understanding the nature and nuances of each and every customer in order to create better brand experiences.”

Asked whether today’s marketers are ready to adapt to a new marketing landscape, Lim added: “I don’t believe it’s a case of whether they’re ready; it’s to me about us preparing marketers for this new environment. Now what that means is that when you are looking at some of these marketers in their day jobs, we have to find ways to equip them with tools and new skills to be ready for this new ecosystem.

“That means things like conferences and events will also need to change, evolving into something like workshops – to really equip your marketers with actual skills they can actually use.”

Do keep an eye on the website for updates and sign up to our daily newsletter to ensure you are among the first to hear of new developments. For further information on the conference and to buy tickets go to the Mumbrella360 Asia website here. And for information on the sponsorship and exhibition opportunities at the event, contact the publisher Dean Carroll at


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