Act-On Releases 2017 CMO Index Report

PORTLAND, OR & READING, England: Findings from the latest research by Act-On Software titled The CMO Index Report was shared today. This report covers the evolving role of the modern-day Chief Marketing Officer in the US and the UK.

Act-On’s Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Huff was quoted as saying, “The modern CMO’s charter is expanding to address all the areas that impact revenue generation – these days accounting for everything from brand awareness and customer acquisition to customer retention, advocacy and loyalty.”

“Given the growing influence of this role within the business, it’s important to better understand and study the background and characteristics of successful CMOs today.”

The study drew on data from the FTSE 100 which is a share index of 100 UK companies with the highest capitalization and Inc. 500 list of mid-market companies with a revenue range of 50M to 1B and employee size between 100 to 10,000. The aim was to have a deeper understanding of what the modern CMO’s work profile look like, their background, qualifications and more.

Approximately 70 CMOs or professionals with equivalent titles participated in the US, and about 80 in the UK.

The key findings that emerged:

  • More women are landing C-level positions: 50% of the CMOs in the US are women. And this is higher than often-expected range for executive roles. It is probably a result of recent conversations surrounding corporate diversity. In the UK though, 60% of the CMOs who were identified were men.
  • Success can mean a waiting game: CMOs in the US seem to serve their companies for a minimum of five years before earning executive titles. CMOs in the UK seem to serve for an average of 8 to 9 years. Also, CMOs in the US serve other companies before reaching C-level. This corresponds to research from Korn Ferry: the CM role typically sees the most turnoer in the C-suite. The long tenure could be seen as helping CMOs gain more industry knowledge, know more about their customer base, go-to market strategies and business models. This allows them to build better partnerships with other market leaders in Sales, Customer Success, Finance, IT, Human Resources, etc.
  • Education is important: 30% CMOs in the UK and US have Masters’ level qualifications or higher. In the US this is a climb from before. In the UK, Oxbridge’s prestige might be dying down – 9% CMOs had higher educational qualifications there.
  • Homegrown talent is preferred: Majority of the CMOs in the two countries are natives of their respective nations. 70% in the UK were British-born and 100% in the US were American-born. 86% in the UK and 89% in the US were promoted within their organizations. Past agency experience doesn’t seem to be a major criterion anymore.

Act-On’s Chief People Officer Susy Dunn was quoted as saying, “If there’s anything this research makes clear, it’s that the role of CMO is changing, and that our expectations of CMOs are evolving.”

“We might still prioritize the same traits in CMOs we always have – a talent for building a company’s brand and partnering with sales – but it’s important we be mindful of how we’re enabling and empowering tomorrow’s CMOs today; to make sure we’re setting them up for success and helping them to develop a deep business acumen, a focus on the customer, an affinity for partnerships, and cross-functional empathy.”

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