CMOs and the C-Suite: 3 Points

October 21, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Business of Marketing | Customer Experience | Customer-Centric | Featured | Internal Collaboration

Top-performing CMOs understand that they must work closely with others in the C-suite in order to impact business priorities and strategic issues. Unfortunately, a study by Deloitte, which focused on how C-suite executives view the contributions of CMOs, reveals that only 17% of others in the C-suite say they have collaborated with CMOs in the last year.

In fact, in Deloitte’s survey of 575 Fortune 500 executives across the C-suite, only CEOs collaborated less (12%) with other members within the C-suite than CMOs. Interestingly enough, while CMOs don’t rate themselves particularly highly when it comes to initiating collaborative efforts, others within the C-suite – CEOs and COOs, in particular think otherwise.

CEOs and COOs rate the collaborative efforts of CMOs much higher than the self-evaluation of these leading marketers. However, Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) rate CMOs’ ability to initiate collaborative efforts even lower than CMOs’ self-evaluation. This is not surprising considering that many marketers and salespeople admit that their departments are still siloed.

Likewise, CFOs have a poor view of CMOs’ collaboration efforts, with these executives having the dimmest view of all the C-suite members. The discord between CMOs and CFOs is far from new and continues into the present, with a recent study from Gartner identifying Finance as marketing’s top detractor.

CMOs: A Self-Deprecating Group?

It’s not just in their collaborative efforts that CMOs rate themselves critically. According to the report, only 5% of the CMOs surveyed considered themselves to be high performers. This is in contrast to the 55% of CEOs who label themselves high performers.

That being said, CMOs are possibly being humble in evaluating their own performance. And they seem to have the support of the one executive that matters most: the CEO. Indeed, CEOs are more buoyant than all other members of the C-suite – including CMOs themselves – when evaluating their leading marketers’ performance in a number of areas. Those include: demonstrating the financial impact of their team; understanding strategic business goals; persuading others to support initiatives; and the use of commonly understood terminology.

One other area of interest is demonstrating an understanding of the customer’s point of view. The CMO Survey has found that a key challenge for CMOs when it comes to communicating with the C-suite is infusing the customer’s point of view in business decisions. However in this latest survey 3 of the other 5 C-suite members rated CMOs’ ability to demonstrate a an understanding of the customer’s point of view higher than the chief marketers themselves. This includes CSOs who, in all other measures, rated CMOs’ performance lower than CMOs’ self-evaluations.

Do CMOs Actually Own CX?

Another area where CMOs feel they are not up to par is in customer experience. A recent CMO Survey found that CMOs rated themselves below their competitors in customer experience capabilities such as measuring customer perceptions throughout the customer journey and integrating touchpoints across the customer journey.

Despite other research illustrating marketing’s understanding of the opportunity and importance of optimizing the customer experience – as well as demonstrating that large companies are placing customer experience responsibilities into the hands of marketing, Deloitte’s study shows that maybe CMOs don’t own customer experience after all.

Almost half (48%) of respondents identified CSOs as the leaders of the conversations regarding customer experience. Only 11% say that CMOs take the lead in discussions about customer experience.

For more insights, the full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Deloitte surveyed and interviewed 575 Fortune 500 executives across the C-suite between October 2018 and February 2019.

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