Where is the CMO Exerting the Most Influence?

February 19, 2020

CMOClub Areas in Which CMOs Lead C Suite Conversation Feb2020The role marketing plays within an organization is not the same as it used to be, and by extension, the role of CMO has changed as well. So, what does the role of CMO look like and in which areas do CMOs have the most influence? Here’s what a survey of 400 CMOs by The CMO Club reveals.

Seven in 10 executive marketers who took part in the survey say their role is considered part of the C-suite, with 59% saying they report directly to the CEO. On average, responding CMOs are on teams of about 69 full-time employees with an average of 7 reporting directly to the CMO. These direct reports primarily are working as part of marketing strategy (78%) and marketing operations/technology (71%) with fewer working as creatives (38%) or in digital/e-commerce (30%).

Almost three-fifths (58%) of respondents say that their marketing function is responsible for upper-funnel activities such as creating awareness and consideration, while 44% say marketing is responsible for mid-funnel (lead generation) and 21% for lower-funnel (purchase). Another 28% say they are responsible for customer retention and loyalty, an area that is of some concern for brands as few customers are loyal to the brands they’ve always bought.

Additionally, 68% of marketing executives say they are responsible for profit and loss. However, only 16% say they have responsibility for the sales force.

Leading the Conversation on CX

When CMOs were asked where they feel they have the most influence within the C-suite, close to two-thirds (63%) responded that they generally lead the conversation on customer experience. However, while CMOs believe they have influence over customer experience, whether or not they are in charge of the customer remains unclear.

Earlier research found that the majority of marketing and digital professionals said that marketing owned the customer, however more recent research seems to contradict those earlier findings and indicates that CSOs are more likely to be the leaders in discussions about customer experience. But, no matter who owns the customer, the CMO Survey found that many CMOs do not think their customer experience capabilities are up to par when compared to their peers.

Furthermore, the CMO Club’s survey found that only 18% of those employees that report directly to the CMO work within customer experience (CX). At the same time, CX is one of the marketing activities that many respondents feel should report to marketing but currently do not.

Other Areas of Influence

A survey from WARC found that CMOs believe that because brand trust is important to customer experience, CX is expected to be the most important element of digital transformation this year. Although digital transformation has historically fallen under the CIO or CTO’s direction, 6 in 10 CMO respondents to this recent survey say they are leading the conversation on this area within the C-suite.

To a much lesser extent, CMOs say they are leading the conversation on driving growth (28%). CMOs may not be leading the charge as the main growth driver, but it’s certainly on their agenda, emerging as both a top priority and a leading challenge for CMOs in recent years.

Relatively few CMOs also believe that they have influence over innovation and R&D (26%), products and services (24%) and business transformation (11%).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 401 CMOs from around the world, primarily from the Technology (29%), Healthcare (16%) and Food and Beverage (14%) industries.

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