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CMOs: Innovate or Die … Or At Least Get Fired ...

By: Nick Godfrey on November 9, 2016

(With apologies to Jack Matson)

If you are a CMO, first off, congratulations on your success. Second, if you’re buying produce for the office, we wouldn’t suggest selecting bananas that are too green--a recent study shows you may not be around to see them ripen.

We are being glib, of course, but a recent piece from AdAge, “CMOs First on Firing Line When Companies Miss Growth Goals,”  should certainly gives pause to all senior marketing professionals.

“Chief marketing officers are most likely among C-suite players to get fired when companies miss growth targets, but they often aren't given the time or authority to develop the most significant innovations, according to a new study by Accenture Strategy.”

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CREDIT: AdAge/Accenture

The study queried more than 1,300 CEOs and CMOs globally, in an effort to “gauge the attitudes…, opportunities and challenges impacting business growth today.” And there is a major disconnect between CEOs and CMOs on marketers’ value and ability to innovate. Again, from AdAge:

  • “The study found 37% of the 535 global-company CEOs who responded to the survey said that their CMOs would be the first fired if corporate growth targets aren't met.”
  • “But the … CMOs who responded to the survey … said they spend on average 60% of their time managing traditional marketing approaches and only 37% of their time on innovation. Only 30% of the CMOs believe they are ‘cutting-edge marketing innovators’ as a result.”

So--CMOs are first to get fired. And CMOs spend barely more than a third of their time on “innovation.” Yet, according to the study, CEOs see marketing leaders as the primary drivers of “disruptive growth,” defined by Accenture as “developing relationships with non-traditional players; launching platforms that expand current products into new areas or expanded service models; or increasing revenue through next-generation data approaches.”  So CEOs are holding CMOs to standards and tasks for which they do not have time.

Clearly, given our work empowering marketers to use THEIR customer and business data to sell more products, we were particularly intrigued by that last element of Accenture’s definition. So while we can’t guarantee that we’d save your job, we certainly can help you to innovate--and be seen as a leader in disruptive growth. To learn more about our “digital marketing services in the age of big data,” click here.

More information on the Accenture study can be found here.

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