What Are Marketing Leadership’s Biggest Gaps?

April 7, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories:

Business of Marketing | Featured | Staffing

CMOCouncilChiefOutsiders Top Marketing Leadership Gaps Apr2021Close to 6 in 10 CMOs rate the caliber of their global marketing teams as excellent (14%) or very good (44%). This is according to a recent report [download page] from CMO Council and Chief Outsiders, which also found, however, that marketing leadership gaps do exist.

Despite a majority of the 150 CMO Council members surveyed expressing confidence in their marketing team’s abilities, when asked if their team was able to execute multi-level, multi-channel marketing campaigns on both a global and local level the responses were mixed. Although only 13% answered no to the question, only 31% gave a definitive yes, while more than half (54%) claimed they could do so partially.

Along with this, respondents report having several marketing leadership gaps or deficiencies in their organization. The prevailing gap appears to be with customer journey, acquisition and conversion — selected by 44% of respondents.

Gaps in this area can be critical, especially considering that customer journey mapping has been shown to be a distinguishing factor for successful customer experience. And, although marketers have put more emphasis on retention during the pandemic, customer acquisition remains a priority.

CMOs are also seeing leadership gaps in segmentation and personalized messaging at scale (42%), action on customer data insight (37%), demand generation and pipeline (31%), campaign execution and measurement (30%) and marketing planning to support digital growth strategies (30%).

A Lack of Resources Persists

Unfortunately, most respondents are also being hindered by a lack of resources or capabilities in key marketing functions. About one-third (34%) say their performance or ability to execute effectively is consistently impaired due to lack of resources, while a little more than half (52%) say this happens with them intermittently.

Whether it be cutting back dedicated resources for initiatives such as digital marketing during the pandemic, or a lack of skills needed to operate the ever-growing array of marketing technology, marketers are missing out on objectives. Per the report, close to 9 in 10 respondents claim that a lack of resources or capabilities has resulted in them either significantly (20%) or somewhat (66%) missing revenue, growth or customer acquisition opportunities.

Recruiting Senior Marketing Leaders

When it comes to recruiting and onboarding senior marketing leaders (director or above), the process can take some time. More than half (54%) of respondents say it can take between 3 to 6 months, while one-fifth (22%) are fortunate to say the process takes less than 3 months. Another 5% simply express the opinion that it takes too long.

In the meantime, some organizations have retained contractors to fill in as interim functional leadership. Those that have done so appear to be pleased with the results, with the vast majority rating the experience and value delivered by an interim leader as either very positive (31%), quite good (28%) or favorable (34%).

They also cite benefits to contracting interim leadership such as fast ramp-up and time-to-performance (47%), proven performers (46%), a range of competencies and capabilities (46%) and domain expertise and knowledge (46%).

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a Q1 2021 online global survey of 150 CMO Council members.

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