Self-described ‘growth CMOs’ share data on their key drivers, partners and metrics

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More than three quarters of marketers who could be described as ‘growth CMOs’ measure themselves based on revenue impact, followed by gross margin and market share, according to the recents of a study released Wednesday from the CMO Council.

In ‘The CMO’s Growth-Driving Playbook,’ the industry association conducted an online survey as well as in-person interviews with marketing leaders across both B2B and B2C brands to explore whether they are repositioning themselves as something other than a cost center within their organizations. According to the survey, 18 per cent said they were “extremely poised to succeed” as growth CMOs, and almost 60 per cent cited data and intelligence analysis as key skills driving their agenda.

“For the growth CMOs, using data to gain a deep understanding of both customer and market can be critical. Storytelling remains an important vehicle, but customer insights can determine the plot,” the report said.

Not surprisingly, dealing with functional silos in other departments was seen as the top constraint growth CMOs face at 36 per cent, though that’s less than marketing leaders who didn’t define themselves as focused on growth, where it was 47 per cent.

Some of the growth CMOs in B2B firms interviewed for the report suggested attracting and developing the right talent is an easy area to overlook, and should be woven into the strategy from the start.

“Have the right people and have the right plan. Both are vital components that are not mutually exclusive,” said Matthew Moorecroft, vice-president of global marketing at New Jersey-based life sciences firm Cambrex. “You can have the best people with no vision. You can have a great plan, but no people to put it into practice. Without both, you are going to waste an awful lot of energy running in different directions.”

Shoumyan Biswas, vice-president of marketing at India-based e-commerce provider Flipkart, suggested growth CMOs will need to work even harder to stay ahead of business needs.

“The CMO’s role in revenue growth will start to shift from focusing solely on the everyday customer funnel management, which is about tomorrow’s growth, and will instead look at how growth is achieved one or two quarters down the path,” he said.

The CMO must be more strategic, not as tactical or short-term.”

While 71 per cent of growth CMOs cited the CEO as their primary ally, more than half, or 56 per cent, said they had a good relationship with their head of sales and 35 per cent pointed to the board of directors as an important source of buy-in.

The CMO Council report was produced in partnership with consulting firm Deloitte.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.