The excerpt below is part one from the Economist Intelligence Unit report, Outside Looking In: The CMO Struggles to Get in Sync with the C-Suite.
Chief marketing officers (CMOs) have a problem. It is not their average tenure, which according to Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, is actually trending up after years of lagging behind more-established C-suite positions. It is a problem of perception. Nearly two decades after the CMO title first nudged its way into the C-suite, many organisations still have trouble defining the CMO’s role and responsibilities.
Part of the issue may be that the CMO oversees what is arguably the broadest and most dynamic mix of disciplines among all C-suite positions. The scope of the CMO’s role ranges from traditional marketing functions such as brand advertising, market research and communications to emerging areas like customer analytics and social media. While this far-reaching portfolio presents an opportunity for CMOs to increase marketing’s influence across the organisation, it also highlights their greatest challenge: getting everyone to agree on marketing’s priorities.
A global Economist Intelligence Unit survey, sponsored by SAS, found that many organisations are misaligned on marketing’s mandate, particularly its contribution to areas outside of the function’s traditional purview, such as product development, retail and customer service. Leadership teams are especially out of sync, with gaps between the CMO and the rest of the C-suite spreading uncertainty across the entire organisation.
“The reality is that a CMO must satisfy a number of audiences: consumers, customers, management, shareholders, regulators and board directors,” says Greg Welch, a consultant with Spencer Stuart. “When you take this into account, combined with the fact that the CMO role often varies by industry, it is not surprising that you see a disconnect when asking about top priorities.”
Filling these gaps in perception is not easy; some are deeply rooted in an organisation’s culture and processes. But the CMO has a potentially critical ally in its quest: the voice of the customer. For many marketing leaders, success will be determined by their ability to align the marketing function – and the entire organisation – around delivering a superior customer experience across all engagement channels.
“The CMO occupies the perfect chair to serve as the disciple for the customer internally,” says Mr Welch.
See the full report on the EIU site: Outside Looking In: The CMO Struggles to Get in Sync with the C-Suite