CMOs Getting A Seat At The Grown Up Table

by Holland-Mark | February 21, 2012

Intrigued by this CMG Partners study of CMOs, which spotted some interesting trends among CMOs beset by the challenges of the Great Recession, technology innovations, customer empowerment, and global competition:

“In the face of what could be a daunting mission, the CMOs we’ve spoken with have adapted into a super-species we like to call ‘Marketing’s CEO,’” says Lange. “No longer just the master of corporate advertising campaigns and promotions, Marketing’s CEO is a true driver of corporate growth and strategy.” Some CMOs are taking responsibility for functions including operations, finance and public policy. For example, one CMO reported that all initiatives/projects that affect revenue are now run through marketing. However, the report acknowledges that this evolution toward greater influence is “on the threshold” rather than in full flower in many companies. The CMO “must earn not only his or her place at the table, but also his or her voice,” it concludes. “While the do or to the C suite has cracked open, CMOs must now rise to the opportunity to not only enter but also remain in the room.”

What I’ve observed in the wild is more of a bifurcation than a march. Some CMOs are indeed stepping up to the plate; learning to be effective in an external context very different from the one they came through the ranks in, and understanding the importance of delivering results, and not just programs.

But others would still press a big red “make this all go away” button” if you let them. They’re still on the sidelines of the social conversation, still uninterested in product innovation, blissfully ignorant of whether the “prospects” they convert become happy customers and promoters.

Are you a marketing pro? If you take a hard look at yourself… which side are you on?