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PERSPECTIVE: The trouble with CMOs - CMOs don't survive in organizations because CEOs don't

(Screen capture.

(Screen capture.

Part of my morning ritual is to spend one hour reading, researching and expanding my knowledge in various disciplines. One of my favorite industry publications is the Harvard Business Review (HBR). A long time source for great insights, research and new concepts and trends to think about as well as apply in my work.

HBR has been following the changes in the CMOs role and position within the organization for many years, and I have often noticed their observations are spot on. Having served as a marketing executive for many years, I was able to witness HBRs perspectives first hand. 'I just read about this in HBR'!

This morning I received an ad for one of the articles soon to be published in the July-August edition of the magazine. The title: "The trouble with CMOs" immediately caught my attention (Great copywriting HBR!).

The bottom line: CMOs don't survive in organizations because CEOs don't trust them.

Fact checking is important and so I immediately calculated the average tenure of all the CMOs in my closest network circle. Given a more than adequate sample size -- the average tenure of CMOs on my list was 18-22 months. This goes in line with HBRs findings.

HBR outlines a framework to making sure CMOs are set up for success in the organization written from an executive recruiter point of view:

  • Define the role

  • Match Responsibilities to the Job’s Scope

  • Align Metrics with Expectations

  • Find Candidates with the Right Fit

It's a good read. Nonetheless, I am still left with the feeling the focus of this article should have been around the root of CEOs mistrust in their new CMOs. More often than not it is the result of factors unrelated to the role description, scope of responsibility or personal fit to the organization's culture. In many cases the 'trouble' is with the CEOs perception of the NEED for the role. It also applies to other members of the C suite as the supporting eco-system of the new CMO.

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