Eight Ways to Improve CMO Success


In my third and final post of ‘takeaways’ from the Winter 2004 issue of Strategy+Business, I’m posting, verbatim, a sidebar story on “The Eight Ways to Improve CMO Success.” Good stuff … enjoy.


Eight Ways to Improve CMO Success

1. Make the mission and responsibilities clear.
Be certain that the case for having a CMO is strong and the mission is well understood by leaders in the organization, particularly the CEO, the board, and line management. Without a clear need (real or perceived), the role will be rejected by the organization.

2. Fit the role the marketing culture and structure.
Avoid having a CMO in a marketing-led company that has many individual brands rather than a single corporate umbrella – unless the person appointed to the position is a well connected insider.

3. Choose a CMO who is compatible with the CEO.
Beware of the CEO who wants to hire a CMO but doesn’t want to relinquish any marketing control. Find a CEO who recognizes his or her responsibility to be the cheerleader for marketing and the brand, but realizes the need to be guided and coached by a marketing specialist.

4. Remember that showpeople don’t succeed.
The CMO should work hard to ensure the CEO is successful at being the principal cheerleader for the brand.

5. Match the personality with the CMO type.
Be certain that the chief marketer has the right skills and personality for whichever of the three CMO models he or she might fill. There is little tolerance for on-the-job training.

6. Make the managers marketing heroes.
By stretching their marketing budgets, CMOs can improve a division’s marketing productivity and help business unit leaders increase their top-line revenues.

7. Infiltrate the line organization.
Have the CMO support the placement of the marketing professionals from the corporate marketing department into divisional marketing roles. Provide input from the CMO into the annual reviews of line marketers.

8. Require right-brain and left-brain skills.
The most successful CMO will have strong creative and technical marketing expertise, be politically savvy, and have the interpersonal skills to be a great leader and manager.

[SOURCE: Strategy+Business Winter 2004]
Further Learning:

  • The Rise and Fall of the CMO blog entry | Dec. 6, 2004
  • The Discipline of Marketing Leaders blog entry | Dec. 7, 2004