The DNA of C-suite sales and marketing leaders
Reset! The reinvention of the CMO
“Successful CMOs speak with the voice of the customer and drive product innovation.”
Dr. Michael M. Meier, Co-Leader global CMO Practice, Egon Zehnder
1. CMO challenges that arise
In the past decade, the environment in which the CMO operates has changed irrevocably. Digital channels have fragmented traditional audiences and sales channels, the carefully positioned brand has become prone to 24-7 social media attack, the internet is now a trusted information source, and corporate reputation relies as much on the internal brand as the external one. In addition, although big data and advanced analytics can decode customer behavior and predict future trends, they require new skills, a technical mindset and digital transformation.
This upheaval is taking place against the background of an increasingly empowered and fickle consumer, who skips between different channels within one purchasing journey and yet demands a seamless brand interface and personalized service. To manage such challenges and stay in step with — or ideally, ahead of — the customer, the marketer must change too. Yet our survey shows many CMOs are frozen in the headlights: knowing they must adapt, yet doing nothing about it.
2. Neglecting essential skills
When we asked CMOs which skills they would need to better perform in their role, they admit that the “ability to implement innovative ways of marketing” is what they most need to improve. Furthermore, of seven areas, “technical experience in using marketing analytical systems and tools” — despite its crucial value — is considered the least important factor in doing a good job, being highlighted by just 40% of respondents.
3. Too focused on the boss
As marketing’s alignment with sales is essential for business success, so too is a good relationship between marketing and the wider executive board. This is lacking, with marketers focusing disproportionately on the CEO. Three out of four are certain that they have a good relationship with the CEO — although less than two-thirds of the C-suite sees it in this light. Meanwhile, just 53% of CMOs firmly believe that they have strong relationships with their CFOs. The C-suite see this bond as even weaker, with just 43% saying that it is good. The CIO is even further out of favor. Less than half of CMOs affirm they have a good relationship with the IT chief, below that of any other C-suite member.
The executive board does not rate the CMO: barely one-third thinks that marketing adds value and only 35% feels strongly that the company would fail without it. The C-suite is far more critical than marketers themselves about CMOs' aptitude for innovation: just 30% believe CMOs' marketing methods are innovative and less than four out of ten (38%) are confident that they ensure the company uses new communication channels effectively. The C-suite also questions CMOs' ability in more traditional areas: just 53% are sure that CMOs add value in building and protecting the brand.