We ❤️ CMOs

CMO spelled out on PostItWe work with CMOs every day, which is why we understand not only what they have to juggle, but also how the role has been changing. Quickly. Dramatically. And for the better.

And because we love all those CMOs we work with, we want to share some of what we’ve observed that hopefully every CMO out there can take to, well, heart.

The Role Is More Dynamic

While the role of Chief Marketing Officer still focuses on—no surprise—marketing, the dynamic nature of marketing means that the role has become far more complex than it was just a decade ago. The constant proliferation of media platforms and digital technologies demands that the CMO must be just as tuned in to innovation as their counterparts in IT and R&D.

If the demand to keep up with technology isn’t pressure enough, the move toward greater marketing accountability and attribution puts the CMO on the hot seat when it comes to real-world results. It is no longer all about branding; it’s more about building business.

Perhaps this is why CMOs have the shortest tenure among all C-suite members. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, more than half of current CMOs have been in their jobs 3 years or less, compared to 5.1 years for the average CFO. But there are things you can do to better your odds—other than going back to school for an accounting degree!

The Role Is More Diverse

While the role is changing, so is the profile of the typical CMO. According to Forbes, nearly half of CMO roles are now filled by women. Gap, Amazon, Kimberly-Clark, and Home Depot are only a few of the high-profile organizations that have appointed women to the role in the past year. And that trend is likely to continue.

Another growing trend: more companies are looking outside their organizations to fill open CMO positions. In fact, Forbes reports that 80% of recent CMO hires came from the outside. And companies are not only looking outside their walls, but also outside their industries.

What’s a Modern CMO to Do?

All this means that what companies are really looking for in a Chief Marketing Officer is new thinking. Here are four ways that the most successful CMOs we know are bringing more value, and bigger results, to their companies:

  • Focus on the customer experience. It’s not enough to focus on the brand. How customers interact with a brand is paramount to how the brand is perceived. Think of yourself as a customer experience manager far more than as a brand manager.
  • Go out and seek innovation. Sure, vendors are calling all day long with their latest next big thing. But they’re also calling every other CMO on the block. Call them. Build relationships with universities. Invite in start-ups. There are lots of new ideas out there. The trick is finding them first.
  • Get outside of your zone. What’s routine in the world of one industry might be untapped in another. Don’t worry so much about what your competitors are up to—see what is happening where none of your competitors are looking. Pharma has lots to learn from packaged goods, and packaged goods from telecom. You get the idea.
  • Treat your agencies as innovation partners. Advertising, marketing, and media agencies are changing just as fast as the CMO role. Ask them to think outside their own zones as well. Make them your partners in bottom-line accountability, and in your search for innovation.

Yes, the pressure is on for CMOs to both innovate and deliver measurable results. But so, too, is the opportunity to take a leading role in driving your company forward through a customer-first focus.

Marketsmith is here to help our CMO partners uncover new ways to create better customer experiences. So, to all of you CMOs out there, a big ??.