CMOs Take the Wheel: New Opportunities as Business Drivers, Growth Strategists and Revenue Generators

December 13, 2016

by Carla Johnson

As the CMO role moves away from brand ombudsman and into new areas of responsibility, strategy is squarely in their crosshairs.

CMO of today is actively asserting a new role as business driver, change agent and customer experience champion, according to a newly released report from the CMO Council and Deloitte titled The CMO Shift to Gaining Business Lift.

It’s certainly not news that the CMO role is expanding. The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that 75% of marketers said they will be responsible for end-to-end experience over the customer’s lifetime. This ownership of the customer experience has also heralded in a new sense of empowerment and influence as CMOs have become strategic members of the C-suite.

This CMO Council study revealed that 69% of CMOs saw themselves as trusted members of the C-suite, increasing in stature and credibility among key business leaders. The challenge, however, is the CMOs ability to shed operational burdens that free them up to focus on bigger strategies. In fact, when they were asked what they spend the most time doing, CMOs were most apt to point to time spent reviewing and approving marketing plans, budgets and campaigns (45%). Next up was attending or leading meetings with peers across the company (42%).

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In a significant contrast, only 1 in 6 reported spending a lot of their time teaming with leadership executives on global business and strategy, which the analysts interpret as their being left out of their senior leadership dialogue. But that’s exactly where CMOs want to be.

Here’s how this sentiment breaks down:

  • The best of intentions to advance the growth agenda are often being sidetracked by a legacy of brand-centric strategies and campaign-focused actions. This calls into question the realities of the CMO truly becoming the primary growth driver.
  • The CMO has the opportunity, if not the requirement, to become the primary driver and orchestrator of the customer experience. However, CMOs are bogged down in operational and functional tasks, like budget meetings and approval cycles, leaving less time to collaborate with the C-suite and advance the digital transformation needed to meet the expectations of tomorrow’s customer.
  • Tremendous opportunities await CMOs in 2017 as they more fully embrace the roles, actions and strategies that drive substantive growth for the entire organization. From influencing strategic planning and business development to advancing customer-centric shifts across the enterprise, CMOs are ready to become corporate change agents, driving the development of next-generation products, services and business models that fundamentally shift the business and lift the bottom line.

If CMOs want to take on a greater role in driving the business, then consistently proving business value and impact is crucial. While only a few feel they do a good job of quantifying and communicating marketing’s impact, 75% are turning to revenue growth as a key measure of success and 45% look at sales velocity, funnel strength and conversion rates.

Download and read the full report here.

Photo credit: Flickr user Jay Parker


About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author