CMO’s sticking longer


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Spencer Stuart notes that CMO tenure has increased consistently since 2004 from an average of 23.6 to 45 months. Debate as to cause abounds. Since it’s been a steady rise each year, I postulate that it’s due to CMOs and their CEOs becoming more comfortable in their relationship and expectations.

The CMO position was a relatively new C-level job a decade ago. As the role has evolved and outcomes clarified, longevity has increased. Throwing the CMO “under the bus” when a sacrificial lamb is needed seems to have passed its peak as well.

Does this bode well for the CMO position? Of course, but from my perspective the real breakthrough will come when the CMO is not really just the Chief Marketing Communications Officer (CMCO). Virtually all CMOs have a very limited scope of responsibility focused on the back-end (Communications/Branding) aspect of Marketing.

As the front-end of Marketing (Strategy, Product/Service selection/development and positioning) have much more leverage than does the back-end (do you credit Apple’s success to its communications strategy or its outstanding products?), the metric that really matters is not so much longevity as scope of responsibility.



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