This Consultant Argues CMOs, Not CFOs and COOs Should Rise to the Office of CEO

Max Brand Equity President Richard Guha says marketers should own and run businesses. He notes that many CEOs are culled from the CFO and COO ranks rather than the CMO ranks. 

Making the argument, he writes: "If Marketing were to do its job perfectly and customers were to come and buy, there would be no need for Sales. So if only Marketing could do its job perfectly, it would be the 'go-to' function in business. Yet, companies routinely look to the CFO or Head of Operations, who do not directly contribute to the key objective of the company when it comes to choosing a CEO instead of promoting the CMO to CEO. Why?

Why, indeed? 

Well, he says too many marketers rely on gut feel rather than sound, scientific analysis. He notes: "Engineers can’t [rely on gut feel], or bridges would collapse, buildings crumble, and machines fail. Marketers need to think more like good engineers than mere wielders of tools."

Do marketers lack the ability to approach brand building in the manner Guha advocates? Or is the nature of marketing and advertising too "squishy" to be crafted with exactitude akin to engineering a bridge? Is it silly to even compare the two?



2 comments about " This Consultant Argues CMOs, Not CFOs and COOs Should Rise to the Office of CEO".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Howard Zoss from Zig Marketing, May 22, 2015 at 7:49 a.m.

    Clueless ... marketing is not a science because humans don't think in finite, linear terms compared to the physical laws that govern the why and how a bridge can support loads.  This is why marketing will never be given it's due, because financial guys are clueless when it comes to human beahvior.  If I had a dime for everytime a CFO or CEO said brand doesn't matter in the purchase process and then climbed into their Maserati to drive home ... I would own this guys equity firm.  If brand meaning is useless than why are their $300 jeans and why arent't CFO's drivng Kia's and Suburu's ... great cars at with efficient prising and great value exchange.  Brand is everyrthing and humans are illogical and highly emotional beings ... proven by 'marketing should be perfect'.

  2. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, May 22, 2015 at 9:07 a.m.

    One reason why CMOs don't become CEOs is the current corporate culture of CMO tenure of 3 years or less, while CFOs and COOs tend to have long-term tenures. I don't know if that's because marketing isn't valued in corporate America, or because of the CMO mindset that they need to move to the next thing.

    Meanwhile, COO/CFO types tend to stick with it more, trying to perfect their model (back to that perfect thing). They also get a better sense of the internal political landscape that way. Boards see that as commitment, and reward it.

Next story loading loading..