Hats Off to the Modern CMO [Infographic]

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Not every C-level marketer takes the same approach to get ahead of the game.

Today's CMO has to wear many hats. And although the title may be the same across organizations, not every CMO's role comprises the same responsibilities. 

According to “The Growth CMO: Personas and Potential” study, today's CMO falls into one of six personas: Strategic Guru, Dynamic Orchestrator, Selective Defender, Conventional Coach, Demand Driver, and Untapped Potential. Forbes Insights, which conducted the research in association with SAP and gyro, describes the personas as follows:

  • Strategic Guru – Likely to be a longtime marketer with strategy-oriented responsibilities at a large company.”
  • Dynamic Orchestrator – Achieves high scores on agility despite having a big personality and desire for control.”
  • Selective Defender – Picks his/her battles to defend the marketing turf. Less ambitious and more risk-averse than average.”
  • Conventional Coach – Carries out static plans under rigid controls for large, slow-growth companies.”
  • Demand Driver – Typically comes from a sales background and has CRM and lead-generation responsibilities.”
  • Untapped Potential – Works in slow-growth companies with weak corporate cultures and tight internal controls.”

About one third (34%) of the 318 CMOs and senior marketers surveyed fall into the Dynamic Orchestrator category, while one quarter consider themselves Selective Defenders. Strategic Guru was the next most popular persona (21%), according to the study, followed by Untapped Potential (16%). Demand Driver and Conventional Coach were less popular responses with 3% and 2% of survey participants choosing these answers, respectively. 

In addition to having different personas, today's CMOs have differing backgrounds. While approximately one third (35%) of CMOs have a marketing history, 29% have an operations background. Other work experiences include sales or customer service (19%), technology (9%), and finance (5%). 

The range of responsibilities is another area where CMOs differ. Marketing analytics (64%), market research and competitive intelligence (57%), and advertising/branding/promotion (56%) were the most popular functions reporting to the CMO. However, only about half of respondents say that their role includes market entry strategies and targeting (51%), customer engagement (50%), or positioning (50%). Less than half say the same for digital and social media (45%) and lead generation (43%).

CMOs also have differences in opinion when it comes to their challenges. Half of the CMOs and senior marketers surveyed list customer loyalty and share of wallet as their biggest hurdle. Demonstrating ROI was another obstacle for respondents (41%), as were aligning objectives with other functions (40%), creating a single customer experience (39%), integrating social into the strategy (39%), and harnessing insights from Big Data (31%). 

But there are a few things CMOs have in common—like their desire to make an impact on their company. Influencing product and marketing strategy is the top personal goal for 56% of respondents, followed by building partnerships between marketing and other functions (51%), impacting corporate strategy (49%), elevating marketing's status within the business (45%), and testing marketing and management philosophies and creating a legacy (30%).

Increased accountability is another area marketers agree on. In fact, 92% of CMOs and senior marketers say that they have a growth mandate of some sort, be it top line, market share, or segment development.

Note: Not all data sets add up to 100% due to rounding.

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