Cannes UnCanned: The Changing Role Of The CMO

Cannes UnCanned: The Changing Role Of The CMO

It’s part of the ‘C-suite’, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems when it comes to the role of CMO.

Data from Deloitte suggests only 17 per cent of CMOs are getting involved in cross-functional collaboration, while just five per cent of CMOs consider themselves to be ‘high performers’.

It’s little wonder the average tenure of a CMO sits at around 3.5 years.

So what can be done to address some of these issues and help bridge the gap between CMO and CEO?

According to Arnott’s CMO Jenni Dill [feature image], it’s all about defining the purpose of the CMO within the company.

“I think what most CMOs deal with – depending on the size and scale of the remit – is you’re dealing with the future, you’re dealing with growth and you’re dealing with uncertainty. It’s often quite hard to pin those things down because you’re not dealing with certainty,” she said.

“You’re absolutely in charge of creating that big and inspiring strategic vision of the future. You need to make sure that is completely aligned. You’ve got the right communication with your CEO and you’re aligned on where you want to get the business to.

“But then you’ve also got to make sure you’ve got those stepping stones between where you are today and where you want to be… and you’re looking at those targets.”

Dill – who was most recently the Mcdonald’s CMO – was speaking as part of a panel session for this year’s Cannes UnCanned virtual event. She was joined on the panel alongside Xero CCO Rachael Powell and The Marketing Academy founder and CEO Sherilyn Shackell.

With the short average tenure of a CMO, long-term results are often interrupted by short-term changes.

“A big component of what success looks like for a CMO is what they can do to instrument change and drive long-term and sustainable results,” said Powell.

“When you’ve got these tenures that are so small, [CMOs] are often not around long enough to accept the fruits of their labour. Then inevitably another CMO comes in, changes up the strategy and the cycle continues again.”

This, combined with the fact CMOs aren’t dealing with numbers and data in the same way as their colleagues, creates issues when it comes to measuring the success of a CMO.

“You’re operating in an environment where everything is metrics-driven, where you can clearly see how the CFO is performing against managing the balance sheet,” said Powell.

“A lot of what the CMO is doing has got that element of – even though there’s a lot of data and a lot of statistics in there – there’s still the ‘art’ layer. There’s the science and the art and often the art is really hard to measure, particularly in the short-term.”

To hear the entire discussion on CMOs and CEOs click here.

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