If you pay attention to corporate news, you've probably noticed one interesting development: There are a lot of CMOs becoming the CEOs of major companies these days. This no doubt makes you wonder why CMOs are becoming so important in general, though it's maybe a little mystifying if you've never heard of this happening before.
CMOs have a specific set of skills that can potentially reinvent how a CEO operates a company. In fact, CMO.com recently mentioned how major corporations like McDonald's and Mercedes-Benz tapped their former CMOs and placed them in the role of CEO.
It's an amazing business development some people didn't see coming. Yet once you start to dig more into what CMOs do, you start to see why this is more than a trend. The days of disruptive, outbound marketing are numbered, so many companies are attempting to better connect with their customers. CMOs have a knack for understanding people, not just numbers, which leads to better sales results.
Let’s take a look at what CMOs know that can eventually help them in more prestigious executive roles, and how it's making an impact in the way companies run.
Exposure to More Diverse Marketing Channels
A CMO already has experience working in multiple online channels where the important demographics are. With this knowledge in tow, as a CEO or other high position, a former CMO already knows where to go to tap the customers. This includes the most effective social media channels to prevent any wasted time marketing in unnecessary places.
What makes this even more important is that a CMO understands how to lead teams for better marketing results. Working with other people doesn't necessarily mean directly within the company, of course. Marketers are nothing if not well connected, and those contacts in other channels who can lend their expertise come in handy no matter what position one is in.
Always Looking Ahead
As noted by Marketing Land, one of the strongest traits of a CMO is their innate ability to always be ahead of the market. Having this gift in an executive position is crucial, even if the CMO stays in their initial role. However, having such a skill in the position of CEO is essential because of increased competition and the ability to always understand what changes are needed.
The best CMOs in companies today are always looking ahead and planning the next move due to increased competition. It's putting talent to good use to prevent companies falling from behind competitors.
Understanding the Psychology of People
Figuring out what customers really want is one of the most difficult subjects to tackle for CEOs. Some have a special knack for it, though it's certainly not widespread without guidance.
Having intuition on what customers want is, however, a major part of the CMO skill set. They're figuring this out with the analysis of existing data and creating customer personas to truly understand the needs and wants of consumers.
Once a CMO is in a more powerful role, the company has someone who has the knowledge and tools to dig deep into what customers demand. That should give hope to more companies in the future after perhaps years of doing too much second-guessing on the marketing front.
Better Focus on Revenue
A CMO is excellent at understanding customers and finding the best channels for marketing. They also understand how important revenue is within the marketing construct. All companies have to think of the financial element when putting together a marketing plan, including the cost of the marketing campaign itself.
The role of CMO has that rare consolidation of understanding people and money, which typically gets handled by different departments in most other companies.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that a CMO can—or even might want to—rise up to the rank of CEO. But it’s not totally unheard of these days either. It will be interesting to see the trend continue and evolve, and only goes to show how important marketing has become in the new world of business.