CMOs, get yourselves out of the line of fire
If you’re a CMO or marketing exec who feels less than secure in your job, you are not alone. CMOs are first on the firing line if the company doesn’t meet its growth targets, according to a recent survey from Accenture Strategy.
CMOs are more likely than any other member of the C-suite to be fired for the company’s bigger performance failures. That’s right; when there’s a revenue growth failure, the CMO gets the ax before sales, strategy and finance execs.
It’s easy to argue other roles should be higher on the chopping block, but for a CEO, it’s often a no-brainer. The chief finance, sales and other CXOs tend to speak the same language as the CEO. They report their results in terms of revenue and other statistics-based numbers that correlate directly with company performance.
So, if you’re a CMO who feels less than secure in your job, odds are you have no one to blame but yourself. There has never been a better time for CMOs to reposition themselves – and prove their value – by taking control of the growth agenda. Doing so just means getting out of your comfort zone and measuring your performance in new ways.
Accenture’s survey also found that 50 percent of CEOs see CMOs as the primary drivers of disruptive business growth, and three out of four CMOs say they have a great deal of control over disruptive growth levers.
At the same time, CMOs are holding themselves back because of mindset and time. From Accenture: “In 2009, 62 percent of CMOs said Marketing would fundamentally change. Flash forward to 2016, in which 91 percent of CMOs are saying Marketing will fundamentally change. But, at the same time, only 25 percent of CMOs are confident as to how to delight their customers. And only 25 percent of marketing organizations have outcome-driven objectives. In the space of seven years, the majority of CMOs seem no closer to harnessing the changes necessary to move forward with the type of growth their CEOs are demanding.”
CMOs have a big advantage over other execs because they are directly connected with customers, prospects and the broader market as a whole. They can make themselves invaluable by serving as de facto “chief growth officers” and find new business opportunities. CMOs need to embrace their responsibility for disruptive growth and acknowledge – and abandon – traditional strategies that haven’t delivered.
Our mission at Proof is to better arm CMOs with the tools they need to be successful and make their companies successful. We want to help them speak the language their bosses speak. Essentially, we want to get them out of the line of fire and help their companies perform so well that the firing squad is the one out of a job.