Who Is Today’s CMO? Is There Even a CMO?

The title of CMO is at once desirable and perhaps outdated at some organizations, according to marketers putting a great deal of thought into the role’s evolution.

Top marketers at CallRail, a provider of tracking and analytics for phone calls and web forms, and at Green Hasson Janks, an accounting, tax and consulting firm, provided comments to Target Marketing, a sister brand of Publishing Executive.

Mary Pat Donnellon, CRO at CallRail, answered questions extensively and Mari-Anne Kehler, Partner, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for Green Hasson Janks, provided the background.

Kehler says organizations such as Uber and Johnson & Johnson morphed the CMO role or left it empty, even as the top marketer’s responsibilities grow, exponentially.

“Eliminating or changing the CMO title enables the top marketer to take on important, cross-functional growth initiatives that typically would not fall in the CMO’s wheelhouse,” Kehler opines.

She says now, there are three main types of CMO roles at companies:

  • those whose focus is downstream, spurring sales through marketing communications;
  • those responsible for designing and implementing strategy; and
  • the smallest percentage are those who are in enterprise-wide P&L role that marry both commercialization and strategy. That latter role has tremendous power in the decision-making process and is where many marketing leaders want to be.

Donnellon is quite familiar with the changing role of the CMO, because that’s her former title.

As a marketer, I naturally see the CMO as the hub that brings together all aspects of the business to drive results. This includes a strong partnership with the product team to deeply understand product roadmap and strategy; with the finance team on pricing, packaging, and performance metrics; with sales and customer experience on front-line strategies and communication; and with the marketing team to create brand experiences and drive demand that converts. To drive revenue results, the CMO needs to pull all of this together.


Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.
Publish date: December 9, 2019 https://dev.adweek.com/media/who-is-todays-cmo/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT
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