of the Fittest
October 15, 2007
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
do CEOs want from marketers in the C-suite?
to Spencer Stuart, the Chicago-based global executive search firm,
the average CMO tenure is now 26 months. With that kind of churn,
there must be some disconnect between what top brass expects and
it comes to hiring CMOs, Greg Welch, global practice leader for
the consumer goods and services group at Spencer Stuart, is one
of the industry’s best-known search executives. Who would
know better what CEOs want from their CMOs than Welch?
I sit with a CEO and ask them, ‘What does winning look like?’
[or] ‘In 12 months what will it take for you to say, ‘Spencer
Stuart, great CMO hire,’ ’ typically, No. 1, 2 and
3 on the CEO’s list is ‘drive profitable revenue growth,’
” Welch says.
CMOs need to be responsible for restoring brand equity and making
sure the pipeline is filled with new products. Yes, ROI in marketing
matters. But at the end of the day, when you really cut through
it all, CEOs want one thing from their CMOs: “CEOs are looking
for revenue growth. They're looking for the CMO to get them going
in the right direction,” Welch says.
drive home the point, Welch reminisces about a CEO client. “Before
a search the CEO told me, ‘Greg, winning is really, really
hard. I'm looking for a CMO that has put the ball in the hoop
several times before. We're looking for people that have been
successful in the past,’ ” Welch says.
and Spencer Stuart are careful to point out that growing revenue
profitably is the No. 1 concern, but that CEOs are not one-dimensional
nor is the marketing function a static environment.
about the ways the CFO keeps his books today versus 10 years ago.
It’s pretty much the same,” Welch says. “Compared
with other functional areas, marketing is evolving rapidly.”
As examples of what drives change, Welch points to consumer audience
fragmentation, new outlets, new channels and the new ways of talking
tell marketers they want us to speak to them differently. Yet,
few CMOs understand new media. Our ability to measure new media
effectiveness simply isn't there. Marketing requires a marriage
of art and science and that compounds senior management’s
frustration,” Welch says.
Stuart and Welch offers six points of focus for aspiring marketers
who want to succeed at C-level:
CMOs must deliver marketing plans that drive positive revenue.
Wall Street pressure is intense. CEOs want pros who can get
the company growing.
a beacon supporting the CEO's vision. Know your CEO’s
key performance indicators and how your initiatives cascade
from the boss’ goals and support them.
must drive real change across the organization. Simply having
a great marketing mind is no longer enough. Marketing-oriented
general managers will be welcomed to the C-suite by their peers
because of their ability to add value across the enterprise.
time understanding other C-level executive agendas. Get input
from the CFO, CIO, operations, HR, supply chain and sales. Know
how their agendas fit with marketing.
must help position the company both internally and externally
as pushing the innovation envelope. This can’t simply
be new packaging or marketing veneer; CMOs must create environments
for ideation, lead teams to big ideas in channel strategies,
pricing options, partnerships, and product and process improvements.
CMOs are conscious of how the makeup of their team aligns with
their target consumer base. The highest performing marketing
teams are those with diverse composition. This extends beyond
gender and ethnic diversity (both of which are critical) and
considers age and functional experience.
impact, collaboration, innovation and adding talent to the organization--that’s
a tall order for any corporate executive today. But, it’s
simply the ante if you want to play at marketing’s C-level
now. Start with boosting revenues—it is what CEOs want and
expect from their CMOs.
If you can
build a track record and succeed across this list, your tenure
as a CMO should exceed 26 months. Of course, if you’re good
at these six skills, you just might be getting a call from Greg
Krauss is president of Market Strategy Group, based in Chicago,
and can be reached at Michael.Krauss@Mkt-strat.com