Chief marketing officers (CMOs) are gaining influence in their organizations, with 90 percent saying they're on their company’s executive committees and 70 percent indicating they report directly to the CEO, according to the results of a recent survey from Korn Ferry.
“Marketing is no longer seen as a support function,” said Caren Fleit, senior client partner and leader of Korn Ferry’s Global Marketing Officers Practice, in a company press release. “CMOs are increasingly expected to drive strategy and revenue, and are being held accountable for organizational goals.”
Of the 300 CMOs surveyed, 60 percent said marketing is viewed by the board and CEO as a revenue generator, while 20 percent say it's seen as a cost center, with the rest of the respondents neutral on the subject.
When asked what the most important attribute is for a CMO, the top response (43 percent) was the ability to build a strong team. For customer-centric organizations, a key attribute for CMOs is the ability to institute a customer-centric agenda and orchestrating organizational alignment around it. Last on the list of attributes was using big data and analytics to formulate strategy.
Another survey finding was that across all companies, more work is needed to be done on digital transformation. Less than one-third of CMOs reported that their organizations are fully transitioned to digital/social/mobile strategies. Nearly half (41 percent) said it will be another one year to three years for this transition to be complete, largely because of not having the right staff.
In addition, more than one-third (34 percent) said their company’s resistance to embracing and investing in innovation and digital is the No. 1 thing that keeps them up at night.
Even though CMOs are tasked increasingly with driving their organization’s digital transformation, often they're missing an important collaborative opportunity. The survey found that only 20 percent of CMOs work most closely with the chief information officer (CIO) out of all their C-suite peers.
“Gone are the days when one can think of the technology function as having different priorities than the marketing function,” said Fleit, in the release. “To make a full digital transformation and have the integration across channels necessary to be truly customer centric, the CMO and CIO must be tightly aligned to guide the organization.”
The survey also revealed that many companies aren't planning for the future. Nearly half (48 percent) disagree or strongly disagree that there's a succession plan in place for the CMO.
“Not having a succession strategy for the CMO could have catastrophic outcomes for organizations, as the CMO’s role is more critical than ever," said Fleit. "Not having the right successor could derail the strategy if there’s a sudden CMO departure.”