One CMO’s Honest Take On The Modern Chief Marketing Role

Nowadays there is no shortage of comments surrounding the title of Chief Marketing Officer, and of course there is no shortage of opinions about the role responsibilities and meaning within any organization. There are reasons for this.

CMO is short-term C-suit role – the average term of a CMO is less than 3.5 years C-suit title. This is because the role of the chief marketing officer is increasingly complex. Qualifications require extensive, strategic thinking as well as maintaining strategic intelligence in a variety of activities. There is a big disparity in what companies expect from CMOs.

Some want unscrupulous strategists to plan to go to market, while others want to focus on brand awareness, content strategy and lead generation as well as closer alignment with sales. Yet other companies want their CMOs to focus on product marketing and management. Ask 10 CMOs how they define their role and you will get 10 individual answers. So, I’m sharing my honesty, what it means to have a role directly from the face of a permanent CMO, as well as the key features of today’s modern CMO.

Press the cap on “The Lego Movie” for this analogy. Today’s marketing executives must bring functions and teams together. From the alignment of sales and marketing to the product and everything in between, the major marketers are the connective tissue in each function. Driving alignment among these functions is table spacing. The same goes for folk groups and cultures – I’ve gained extensive experience in CMOs serving as the linchpin of a company’s culture.

My CEO lives up to the famous phrase “culture eats strategy for breakfast” and driving culture alignment and now sits smarter on the shoulders of marketing. Ah, the demand of the generation. Creating new driving opportunities will certainly continue to be a top priority for CMOs. I’m not sharing anything new here, but the partnership is over. CMOs either make numbers or we find another job. Don’t get anything simpler than this. But, just cutting a box produce lead does not cut it into the board room.