XT … The Growth CMO (by Forbes)

Almost all chief marketing officers (CMOs) have a mandate to drive growth. Sometimes it’s growth in revenue; sometimes market share; and sometimes a particular segment of the business. While the quality of growth can vary, the CMO’s job is always about helping the company thrive.

Forbes Insights, in association with SAP and gyro, conducted qualitative and quantitative research with 318 CMOs and senior marketing executives from around the world. Using “the growth CMO stack”1 elements described in “The DNA of a Growth CMO” as a guide, this research study showed that CMOs, on average, do well at promoting a cul- ture of market centricity supported by facts and learning and building capabilities that lead to outcomes resulting in growth.

Based on the data from this survey and a variety of statistical techniques, Forbes Insights developed a set of six personas and a statistical portrait of the CMO that expresses often-surprising ndings on the responsi- bilities, backgrounds, performance, and aspirations of CMOs around the world. Key ndings are noted below:

CMOs are a diverse audience unified by a strategic focus.

CMO backgrounds and portfolios can be very diverse, and it’s incorrect to assume that the title means the same thing to all organizations. The most common areas of CMO ownership – analytics, research and intelligence, advertising, and branding – are increasingly data-driven and strategic in nature. CMOs whose roles are weighted signicantly toward owning customer interfaces such as lead generation or customer relationship management (CRM) systems tend to be associated with weaker performance. CMOs are unified by a desire to in uence strategy – that’s their aspiration.

Common struggles and conflicts are related to data, digital, and goal alignment.

Aligning objectives and actions with other parts of the business is a recurring theme in the CMO agenda. It is one of the top aspirations of CMOs, and also the most common source of con ict. Omnichannel marketing, digital channels, and Big Data are huge struggles for CMOs. Few can con dently say they are engaging these areas well; even the best-performing CMOs don’t do much better than the rest. Ownership of digital channels and social media among CMOs is low, and a great deal of conflict with other functions is focused on precisely this. Customer loyalty is the most common cause of concern for CMOs.

There is an elite group of high-performing “growth CMOs.” Only 38 out of the 318 CMOs, or about one in eight, scored sufficiently high enough across a variety of attri- butes to belong to this group.

Key indicators separate the average from the elite. Key differentiators between high-performing mar- keting organizations and less successful teams include the level of planning and internal controls in place, the marketing team’s ability to listen and learn collectively, as well as the budgets and income available to drive marketing’s goals. In addition, how well de ned the role of the CMO is within the company and the level of partnership with other functions has a signi cant impact on the marketing organization’s performance.

The 6 CMO Personas

Every CMO can align to one or more personas. Each has strengths and weaknesses; each provides a distinctive path to growth. The six personas are described below:

  • The Strategic Guru
    Is likely to be a longtime marketer with strategy-oriented responsibilities. He or she is an adept networker and most likely runs marketing at a large company where mastering process and influencing colleagues are paramount.
  • The Dynamic Orchestrator
    Surrounds himself/herself with capable people, performs well under pressure, and achieves high scores on agility despite having a big personality and desire for control.
  • The Selective Defender
    Selectively picks his/her battles to defend the marketing turf. This person is less ambitious and more risk- averse than average. He or she has more limited responsibilities and little to do with corporate strategy.
  • The Conventional Coach
    Carries out static plans under rigid controls for large, slow-growth companies. This person has a narrowly defined function and tends to engage less in social media and e-commerce. He or she is pressured to demonstrate marketing ROI and often clashes with other functions over budgets, targets, and deadlines.
  • The Demand Driver
    Typically comes from a sales background and has CRM and lead-generation responsibilities. He or she scores poorly in technology use and talent recruitment but is relatively strong when it comes to coordinating activities across channels and touchpoints.
  • The Untapped Potential CMO
    Faces not only a revenue growth mandate but also a shrinking budget. This CMO traditionally works in slow-growth companies with weak corporate cultures and talent pipelines. He or she also reports tight internal controls and little agility to adapt marketing plans.

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