Do CMO roles need to embrace growing commercialisation?

By Robert Half on 23rd July 2018

The role of Chief Marketing Officer can arguably be the most complex and vast of all C-suite roles. It has a direct and measurable impact on advertising ROI, revenue and customer relations, in comparison to other C-suite roles, which are largely ‘inward facing’.

With this in mind, should CMOs embrace a more commercial role to reach new career successes?

The current outlook for Chief Marketing Officers

Chief Marketing Officers have the highest turnover of any C-suite professional. This could be attributed to the expectation that they should deliver immediate results, or to the changing nature of the role in general. 

There are three main areas covered off beneath the umbrella of the CMO role: commercial, strategic and enterprise (which encompasses both strategy and commercialisation). The spread within the industry favours the commercialised role, which sits at 46% and outnumbers the other two types. This leaves a number of CMOs without the necessary skills to deal with the future of business enterprise.

Although commercialisation and digitisation were not necessarily identified as key C-suite priorities for 2018, new market insights suggest an ever-growing shift towards emphasis on ROI from measurable digital marketing insights.

The shift towards commercialisation

Research for the Robert Half Salary Guide has shown that the marketing sector is leaning heavily towards commercialisation as data insights begin to play a bigger role in business performance metrics.

ROI and revenue can now be directly attributed back to marketing efforts, and insights are delivered and acted on faster than ever before. This is compounded by the speed at which competitors are able to interpret and act on their own data insights—the fastest, smartest, most targeted marketing efforts deliver the competitive edge.

UK advertising spend continues its nine-year upward trajectory and, as such, is also impacting the role of CMO. This year, it’s predicted to reach an impressive £22.7bn and grow to 2.8%. Such a large investment requires CEOs to have a huge amount of trust in the ability of their marketing executives.

The future of the CMO role

In light of the growing commercial shift, businesses are turning their attention towards hiring for business acumen, commercial skills and digital skills in a prospective CMO.

This is supported by the on-going digitisation of the workplace. New systems and more sophisticated technology can process larger quantities of data faster and track more customer touchpoints. This will make it easier for CMOs to begin to serve personalised experiences to customers far quicker.

Executives who don’t currently have the requisite skills in data analysis or digital commercialisation should look at redirecting their focus and upskilling to add more value to existing positions and to remain competitive within their industry. 

Are you interested in learning more about how to increase the commercial appeal of your CMO skill set? 

Robert Half Executive Search specialises in the search for and placement of executive leadership talent across a broad spectrum of function areas and industry sectors. Contact the Executive Search team today to learn more.

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