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Thriving in the Wild: Survival of the Fittest CMOs

by Rich Beatty  |  
March 29, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How the role of CMO has evolved to meet today's needs
  • Five survival principles for "Marketing's CEO"

Over the past year, chief marketing officers (CMOs) have stepped up their game by shouldering greater responsibility for the conversion of a key business asset—a company's marketing capacity—into top-line and bottom-line results.

Once focused on defending their turf and justifying their domain, CMOs have evolved and now drive business value. As a result of that evolution, CMOs have morphed into a marketing "super-species": Marketing's CEO.

The New CMO

Each year, CMG Partners, my firm, embarks on a research initiative—The CMOs Agenda, featuring in-depth interviews with CMOs and lead marketers from midsize and Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries. The objective is to learn about and publish the trends and challenges confronting today's CMOS.

This year's study found that similar to CEOs, lead marketers are increasingly engaged in setting a longer-term vision for Marketing to generate greater enterprise value. In addition, lead marketers are assessing ways to dramatically benefit from the assets they are responsible for.

Marketing's CEO is more than a new label. It goes far beyond simply minding the marketing function (once seen as solely marcom and brand management). Marketing's CEO is a leader focused on growth and an invaluable ally to the company's CEO.

That evolution is the result of a changing environment teeming with challenge and complexity. Charged with the "simple task" of harnessing the power of unpredictable consumer and competitor behaviors, CMOs must navigate through a myriad of internal stakeholders and gatekeepers. Their success requires that they balance and capitalize on the intersection of market opportunity and corporate direction.

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Rich Beatty is founding partner of CMG Partners, a strategic marketing consulting firm. He has deep experience in the telecommunications, Internet, and service industries.

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