What CEO’s Really Think of CMO’s

A recent survey by The Boathouse Group, a Boston-based marketing agency/consulting firm, should be a wake-up call for B2B marketing leaders. the Study 2021 CMO Based on a survey of 150 Fortune 3000 CEOs from 13 industries. Survey respondents represent companies with annual revenues ranging from $250 million to more than $1 billion. Field survey conducted from May 26 to June 8, 2021.

The researchers had two goals for this survey. They wanted to learn about the CEO’s views on the role and importance of the CMO position, and they wanted to explore other CEO perceptions that might help explain the average tenure of CMOs. The survey report indicated that the average CMO service life (in 2020) was at the lowest point in the last decade.*

Like other research I discussed recently, the Boathouse survey found that driving revenue growth has become a top marketing priority for many CEOs. A large number of respondents (47%) said that The most important role From CMO is “Business Development”. Brand development came in second with 29%.

The Boathouse survey contains both good news and bad news for marketing managers. First, the good news.

good news

In a survey conducted by Boathouse, the CEO expressed many positive feelings regarding CMO. The vast majority (86%) said that marketing managers have the power and credibility to influence key decisions made by C-level executives. 63 percent of survey respondents described marketing managers as “caring about performance,” and 58 percent said marketing managers understand the business and the goals of the company’s shareholders.

Now for the bad news

Unfortunately, the Boathouse survey also revealed that many CEOs have many negative perceptions of CMOs – or at least the CMOs they’ve worked with.

For example, only 34% of CEOs surveyed said they had great confidence in CMO. And 80% of survey respondents said the short-term tenure of a CMO was a sign of CMO failure. When survey respondents were asked why CMOs fail, 38% of respondents said it was because CMOs had the wrong skill set for the changing marketing environment, and 21% said it was because CMOs have difficulty measuring business outcomes for marketing programs.

These results are similar to those of a 2021 survey of senior management executives conducted by the Marketing Board. In this survey, only 17% of respondents said they are very confident in marketing’s ability to lead a growth recovery in 2021, and another 52% said they were fair somewhat confident.

The Boathouse survey also had some somewhat disappointing results about the level of CEO confidence in CMO, with only 32% of CEOs surveyed saying they trust CMO. Some of the CEOs’ perceptions described in the survey report are profound. For example:

  • 56% of respondents said that marketing managers are committed to themselves, but only 44% said they are committed to their CEO/board.
  • Only 56% of respondents said CMO supports the CEO’s long-term vision, and only 10% said CMO puts the CEO’s needs before theirs.

Finally, when Boathouse asked survey participants to identify the most trusted and most valuable member of their leadership team, the CMO did not perform well. The following table shows how the surveyed CEO answered these two questions.

My opinion

Some of the results in the Boathouse poll appear to be very contradictory. For example, the CEO surveyed said that marketing managers have the credibility to influence key executive group decisions, but only about a third of respondents said they trust a CMO. It’s as if respondents in the survey were answering some questions based on what they think CMO must be or can be, while answering others based on what they think most marketing managers think In fact.

*The survey report contains a somewhat confusing chart depicting the average and average tenure of a CMO from 2011 through 2020. The chart appears to be based on data from the 2021 version of CMO . Possession Study by Spencer Stewart. You can review Spencer Stuart’s data here.

Top image source: Boathouse Group Inc.

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