Today, about half of chief marketing executives are hired to fix "broken" marketing organizations. Little wonder that CMO churn rates are high.
So what, exactly, does it take to succeed? A new study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council points to three core elements that need to be in place: a strong mandate and unwavering support from the CEO; close, productive relationships with peers in the C suite; and early evidence that marketing is indeed performing expanded roles and enhancing business value (cultivating customers and driving sales and new revenue streams).
The report, "Renovate to Innovate: Building Performance-Driven Marketing Organizations," also outlines 10 steps to succeeding for executives taking over the chief marketing leadership role.
It is based on best-practices interviews with more than 20 CMOs who have been recently hired or have relatively short tenures; a decade-long assessment of CMO effectiveness on the job; and an in-depth historical review by senior management recruiting/appraisal firm Egon Zehnder International (also the report's sponsor).
The backdrop is well-known to marketing executives. To respond to fundamental changes in the marketplace, marketing organizations must now go beyond being brand agents/communicators, to "fill the pipeline with predisposed prospects, further customer insight and interaction through social media channels, and be accountable for demand generation and market differentiation with integrated, multi-channel campaigns," sums up the report. This requires new competencies and knowledge in data integration and insight gathering, predictive analytics, behavior-driven marketing, precision promotion, online and mobile engagement, lead cultivation and provisioning, financial forecasting and mix modeling.
Key conclusion: The chief marketer's most critical role is to be an agent of change, and specifically to "revitalize the marketing group's cultures and mindsets." Narrowly focused, "risk-averse managers in isolated tactical silos (research, PR, advertising, events, creative services, interactive, direct response) must be integrated into cohesive, cross-functional campaign teams" that are strategically aligned with corporate business objectives and held accountable for specific deliverables and deadlines.
"In essence, a new CMO has to become a 'super-bonding agent,' helping disparate elements in the organization come together, stick together and work together in a cohesive way," sums up CMO Council executive director Donovan Neale-May.
A summary of the recommended 10-step plan for new CMOs:
The full report can be downloaded from the CMO Council site.