November 3, 2016
by Carla Johnson
In a new report from Accenture Strategy, The C-Level Disruptive Growth Opportunity. Chief Marketing Officers: What your CEO Might Not Be Telling You, authors Kevin Quiring, Rachel Barton and Joanna Levesque bring to light a lurking threat of which CMOs may not be aware – CEO expectations to drive new growth opportunities for the enterprise. As traditional sources of revenue shrink, CEOs are looking for disruptive opportunities for growth and CMOs are the people they expect to drive it.
“Given that CMOs fill a key role in the end-to-end customer experience and typically have control ofm any of the digital levers that drive disruptive growth, CMOs acting as Chief Growth Officers (CGO) only makes sense. The fact that CEOs hold a CMO’s feet closet to the fire if growth targets are not met only further supports this assertion.”
Alignment in this belief, however, is lacking between CEOs and CMOs. One-third of CEOs surveyed said that they would turn to their CMO first if growth targets aren’t being met. Forty-four percent of CEOs believe that disruptive growth is very important while only 37% of CMOs view it that way. Part of this disconnect may come from fractured views of who’s accountable for what. With more “C” titles coming into play – Chief Digital Officer, Chief Experience Officer, Chief Data Officer – the real estate of responsibility isn’t clear.
Smart CMOs connect the dots
Granted, we live in a digital world but digital isn’t the only experience that customers have with a brand. Disruptive growth requires new value propositions and partnership as part of a bigger business platform.
In the report, 33% of CEOs say that marketing will sit under Digital within the next five years. Take heed, CMOs, because you need to take the bull by the horns not only for your own career stability, but to avoid losing control of a key area in the organization.
CMOs should be constantly looking over their shoulder, because the Chief Growth Officer title only comes when growth actually happens. And CEOs are quick to point out that the CMO is the first to go should growth targets not be met.
Telltale signs you’re on the right path
For a CMO to be headed in the right direction to becoming a CGO, they:
- Are in total control of disruptive growth levers
- Spend at least equal time or more on disruptive initiatives, compared to traditional growth agenda
- Have dedicated marketing capital investment budget for infrastructure and application investments
- Have P&L responsibility over disruptive initiatives (e.g., revenue from new ventures)
- Have at least two initiatives ongoing with non-traditional partners to seek new revenue sources
- Are embedded into the C-suite and move at pace (or ahead) of CEOs with respect to disruptive growth
Download the full report.
Photo credit: Flickr user Tsahi Levent-Levi
About Carla Johnson
Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.
Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands has served as the foundation for many of her books.
In her latest project, Fast Forward Files, she contributes to a larger collection of thoughts by some of the world’s greatest minds - Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee, activist and entrepreneur Heather Mills and behavioral designer, technologist and mental-health champion Peter Trainor. Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking.
Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.