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Today's chief marketing officers are experiencing something of an identity crisis: Even after a CMO is accepted into the C-suite, a lot of confusion remains about what the CMO should be delivering and the value he or she can add.

What is the role of the modern CMO? It's hard to define, and it varies greatly from organization to organization.

CMOs oversee and manage marketing efforts, for sure, but they are also responsible for satisfying audiences—from consumers to board directors—and contributing to areas outside of the traditional marketing purview, such as product development, customer service, and sales, according to the 2014 CMO Survey.

No wonder there's confusion around the role of CMOs: They are being pulled in a thousand directions every day. Such a wide array of responsibility leads to 62% of CMOs' feeling pressure from their CEO or board to prove the value of marketing, and 65% of those CMOs' saying that the pressure is increasing.

It's clear that modern CMOs must be able to prove their value in the C-suite. But how do they do it? The answer starts and ends with their ability to demonstrate a significant, positive return on investment (ROI) in the marketing department.

To truly cement their position in the C-suite, and earn credibility equal to that of CFOs and CEOs, today's CMOs need to understand marketing ROI, certainly, but they must also know how to prove it—as well as communicate their ability to optimize it—to the rest of the C-suite and the company as a whole.

What is marketing ROI, anyway?

For marketers, determining the ROI for any given activity can be tricky.

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image of Bob Murphy

Bob Murphy is a managing partner at Movéo, which partners with category-leading brands to craft strategies and build tactics that engage audiences and drive business growth. Bob manages the Data & Insights group and the Strategy & Planning team at Movéo.

LinkedIn: Bob Murphy