The average tenure for CMOs of leading US consumer brand companies reached 45 months in 2012, continuing a steady rise from a low of 23.2 months in 2006, according to study results from Spencer Stuart. The researchers attribute the trend to CMOs having “come of age,” with the marketing function taking a greater role in enterprise growth due to new technologies and digital marketing channels. Late last year, The CMO Council pronounced 2013 “the year of the marketer,” with survey results demonstrating that senior marketers are enjoying budget growth, increased responsibilities, legitimacy, and compensation.
With the rise in all things digital (including mobile and social) contributing to marketing’s wider-reaching functions, it’s no surprise that CMOs are quickly shifting their attention to the digital space. According to a recent Accenture study, CMOs around the world are predicting a sizable budget shift to digital marketing over the next year, with that reallocation coming at a time when 7 in 10 believe that the marketing function will undergo fundamental change over the next 5 years.
Returning to the Spencer Stuart study, it’s worth noting that CMO tenures range widely by industry. CMOs in industrial companies boast by far the longest average tenure, of 111 months, up about 12% from 99 months in 2011. Technology CMOs are a distant second, but still enjoy tenures 33% longer than the average, at 60 months.
Some CMOs aren’t so lucky: the average tenure for a healthcare CMO last year dropped by 24%, to just 28 months. CMOs at automotive companies are under pressure to perform, with their average tenure at 30 months last year, although that was a 20% improvement from a year earlier.