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More CMOs Out of Sync with CEOs, Research Suggests

Chief marketing officers and CEOs are not always on the same page about the role of marketing, and at some organizations the divide is widening. So reports The Wall Street Journal.

question mark 2492009 640According to a new McKinsey survey, while 90% of CEOs say they believe marketing’s remit is well defined, the share of CMOs who said their jobs are well defined and understood by the rest of the C-suite has fallen to 22% from 31% four years ago.

And according to a survey earlier this year by Forrester, while 97% of CEOs indicated that their companies meet consumer needs, only 75% of CMOs said the same. Also per Forrester, while 90% of CEOs said consumers drive their corporate strategies, just 58% of CMOs agreed.

Papa John’s International CEO Rob Lynch, formerly a top marketer at Arby’s and Taco Bell, told the Journal that CMOs must communicate with other C-suite executives about why what they do is valuable. CEOs and board directors “don’t necessarily have their finger on the pulse of the customer and where the revenue comes from,” Lynch said. He added that the rise of related titles, such as chief growth officer, chief digital officer and chief brand officer, has also complicated CEOs’ ties to CMOs.

McKinsey’s research similarly highlighted the importance of communication. “Many times, CEOs turn to strategy or operational leaders versus the CMO for growth strategies,” one CMO surveyed by the firm said, as notes. “As a result, strategies can be more financially and analytically driven versus consumer-led.”

As Marketing Dive reports, a separate Spencer Stuart study found that Fortune 500 CMOs’ average tenure fell to 4.2 years in 2022 from 4.5 years in 2021. At the same time, among major marketers naming chief brand officers of late are General Mills, Disney and Mars Petcare.

Ultimately, as Becker’s Hospital Review sums up, CEOs need to define the role of marketing in long-term strategy clearly. They also need to give CMOs appropriate resources, engage with them closely and make sure key performance indicators are lined up with growth. “Our research is clear: companies that place marketing at the core of their growth strategy perform better,” McKinsey finds

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