Many assert that there has never been a better time to be a CMO in the b-to-b space. I agree. The spotlight on customer-centricity, market or audience orientation lends itself to a more elevated role for the b-to-b CMO. The challenge is in managing expectations and clarifying the meaning of a balanced role. Hype around data-driven capabilities and digital transformation (apparently requisite skills for today’s CMO) masks the true requirements of an effective CMO. The task is not to be the master of all trades, or the master of all new trades, but to be the master of the four CMO-specific trades. The balanced CMO can strategize, transform, deliver impact and design the organization in the most optimal way to ensure the entire team is equipped and enabled to deliver a range of functional expertise to meet business goals.
We must resist the unrealistic assumptions of recruiters who suggest that CMOs must be experts in all new or evolving technologies and data-driven competencies and must be savvy and experienced in demand generation as well as branding. This fails to recognize that marketing leaders develop strengths in particular functional areas as a consequence of sector-specific characteristics. Growing up in manufacturing vs. the high-tech space delivers a CMO with very different profiles, and this is okay. The key to success is in having CMOs with expertise across the spectrum of the four CMO capabilities:
If recruiters really want to know what to look for in a b-to-b CMO, they should focus their searches on marketing leaders who can demonstrate an ability to strategize, transform, deliver impact and ensure an optimal organizational design. After all, this is what a modern, balanced CMO actually looks like.
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Caroline Bright is a Research Director for European CMO Strategies at SiriusDecisions. An accomplished b-to-b global marketing director and commercial leader with 15 years of experience in FTSE 100 multinational environments, she brings expertise in driving marketing-led strategic change, tackling complex market and organizational challenges, creating cultures for marketing success, integrating global and regional acquisitions, and developing and implementing international marketing and branding strategies. Follow her on Twitter @bright_ce.