Ultimately, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is responsible for facilitating growth, sales and marketing strategy. He or she must work towards objectives such as revenue generation, cost reduction, or risk mitigation. The unpredictable impact of marketing efforts, coupled with the need to drive profits, often leads to a short tenure for most CMOs. According to a 2011 IBM global study of 1,734 CMOs around the world, CMOs see customer loyalty as their top priority in the digital area; their second priority is to design experiences for mobile devices.
CMOs are faced with a diverse range of specialized disciplines in which they are required to be knowledgeable. This challenge is compounded by the fact that the day-to-day activities of these functions, which range from the highly analytical (e.g. – pricing and market research) to highly creative (advertising and promotions), are carried out by subordinates possessing learning and cognitive styles to which the CMO must adapt.
The Savvy CMO is likely to take on or fractionally engage an experienced marketing professional and a team of resources that can align and quickly accelerate results in areas where he or she is overburdened or less adept.
Beyond the challenges of leading their own subordinates, the CMO is invariably reliant upon resources beyond their direct control. That is to say, the priorities and/or resources of functional areas not reporting to marketing such as production, information technology, corporate communications and public affairs, legal, human resources and finance have a direct impact on the achievement of marketing objectives. Consequently, more than any other senior executive, the CMO must influence peers in order to achieve their own goals. Clearly, this necessity to lead peers compounds the complexity of challenges faced by the CMO.
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