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What CEOs Want from CMOs (and How to Give It to Them)

Marketing’s—and marketers’—moment is now.

CEOs are counting on their CMOs to drive their growth objectives and giving them the power to do so, according to McKinsey & Company. A full 78 percent of global CEOs surveyed are banking on their marketing leaders to drive brand growth in these “no-normal” times.

Who are these (un)masked marketing marvels? And how are they earning rave reviews in the c-suite?

McKinsey calls these marketing leaders “unifiers.” They think beyond functional walls, view “marketing with a capital M,” and forge strong partnerships across their organizations—from sales and product innovation to finance, technology and HR—working with their c-suite team in fulfillment of the brand’s mission and vision.

How do they do it? By doing what marketers do best: Understanding their “internal consumers’” mindsets, adopting each one’s language, and using that language to clearly articulate how marketing can meet their specific needs… and ease their pains.

Here’s how you can be a “unifier” too.


Get the CEO in your corner (and keep them there).

Make sure your CEO understands exactly how marketing is driving growth, owning their target, and serving the brand’s broader goals and objectives. Be your organization’s expert on your consumer’s end-to-end journey and the first to bring new insights and ideas on how their attitudes and behaviors may be changing—and how your brand should proactively respond to maximize the upside potential (or minimize the downside).


Embrace metrics that matter to your CFO.

If a CEO can be a marketer’s strongest ally, a CFO may be their sharpest critic. To overcome this obstacle (and protect your marketing budget in times of trouble), McKinsey recommends building business cases with meaningful financial metrics such as ROI and customer lifetime value rather than those “softer” ones that are less valuable to a CFO such as brand equity, gross rating points (GRPs) or engagement.


Unlock the power of data with your CTO.

Now more than ever before, effective marketing relies on our ability to connect with targets on a deeply personal, relevant level. And you’re not going to have much success without taking advantage of your organization’s wealth of data. Close collaboration with your CTO is, therefore, critical: Create a partnership based on a shared vision of how to best leverage in-house data (often from disconnected, disparate systems) to understand your audiences at granular levels, predict behavior and personalize interactions. Then make sure to incorporate a workable strategy to close the loop, integrating marketing activities with your CRM system to help define conversions and deliverable measurable results you can tie to ROI.


Help your CHRO fill the marketing talent gap.

Finding top marketing talent isn’t easy. Doing so in a vacuum—or with old-school recruiting and training approaches—makes it close to impossible. Educate HR leadership on marketing’s changing talent requirements, then work with them to recruit the best candidates, and create solid upskill plans for new hires and skill-enhancement plans for existing marketing team members to help employees keep pace with the changing environment.

Granted, building such cross-organizational partnerships and turning your c-suite colleagues into marketing champions may be far from easy. But those CMOs who do stand the best chance of delivering on the brand growth today’s CEOs want now.

Ready for a partner who can help build growth-driven strategies that will help you win more allies in the c-suite?  Contact us.

Processing the Intangible: Sparking Creativity in Your Marketing Team

Processing the Intangible: Sparking Creativity in Your Marketing Team

Employees who find inspiration in their workplace are generally happier, more engaged and more productive—all of which translate to tangible value for brands. And although some people tend to be more creative than others, it’s not a trait reserved for the select few—any employee can become more creative. Clever solutions to problems, innovative ways to Read More

The Growth “Triple Play”: Winning with Creativity, Analytics & Purpose

The Growth “Triple Play”: Winning with Creativity, Analytics & Purpose

Brands that are effectively integrating creativity, analytics and purpose are growing at a rate more than twice that of their peers, according to recent McKinsey & Company research. And while these growth “triple play” brands may have greater bandwidth than yours, taking a page (or a few) from their winning playbooks can still help jump-start Read More

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