CMOs Want Greater Influence in Biz Strategy, Development

January 26, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Creative & Formats | Data-driven | Media & Entertainment

forrester-research-inc.jpgAn overwhelming majority (79%) of global CMOs say they want their influence in business strategy and development to grow, far ahead of other areas such as digital/interactive/social marketing (41%), and brand strategy and positioning (33%), according to a survey released in January 2012 by Forrester Research and Heidrick & Struggles. In line with this focus on business strategy, CMOs identified visioning and strategic thinking (89%) as the top competency important for their success, followed by people management/team development (59%), with relationship building with the senior executive team (39%) not far behind.

Relationship Building, Tech Savviness Need Improvement

As they eye a greater role in overall business strategy, CMOs are aware that they need to improve their relationships with senior executive teams, with 38% saying they need to improve in this area. Interestingly, only 1 in 5 believe they need to improve their visioning and strategic thinking, suggesting that they are confident in their readiness to take a greater role in business strategy. In terms of the relationships to develop, most CMOs said the head of sales (80%) was the most important, ahead of the CFO (56%), head of product development/R&D (48%), and COO (35%).

Meanwhile, technology-savviness is the top competency for which CMOs see an opportunity to improve. According to a study released in October 2011 by IBM, new technology stands to become much more commonly used by global CMOs, led by social media, with 82% of respondents planning to increase its use. Other new technologies with high rates of planned increased usage included customer analytics and CRM (81% each), mobile applications (80%), content management (73%) and tablet applications (72%).

CMO Ownership Limited to Traditional Areas

Data from “The Evolved CMO, 2012” indicates that although CMOs want their influence on business strategy and development to grow, almost all feel they have either involvement (59%) or ownership (40%) of business strategy development. Even so, the proportion citing a level of ownership in this area is far smaller than for more traditional areas of expertise, including brand strategy and positioning, creative development, and advertising (all at 86%). Only 25% cite an ownership of the in-store/branch experience, roughly on par with the proportion who feel no involvement in this area at all.

Other Findings:

  • The top marketing objectives cited by CMOs include acquiring new customers (59%), launching new products/brands (42%), increasing brand awareness, and improving marketing ROI (both at 41%).
  • CMOs rate sales and marketing alignment as a relatively high priority for CEOs within their organization, at an average of 3.94 on a 5-point scale, with 5 representing the top level of priority. 64% of CMOs rated sales and marketing a very high priority for the most senior marketing executive, compared to 36% for the most senior sales executive.
  • The current level of collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing was rated highest in setting marketing strategy and planning activities, and lowest in following up on leads.

About the Data: Forrester and Heidrick & Struggles conducted an online survey of 191 organizations globally to evaluate the role of the CMO. Survey participants included decision-makers in CMO or senior-most marketer roles in the organization. Questions provided to the participants asked about required skill sets, strategic objectives, and personal development. The study began in August 2011 and was completed in September 2011.

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