Do You Really Need a Chief Marketing Officer?


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Pick up the business press and you can’t help but be overwhelmed by articles about how Chief XYZ Officers have single-handedly saved the company from oblivion, won industry awards for the things Chief XYZ Officers do and all that without producing even a single gram of Carbon.

Chief amongst all these Chief Officers is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). They are responsible for the heady combination of loyalty building brands, behaviour changing promotions and that modern invention, the customer experience. But does the role of the Chief Marketing Officer actually add any value to their employers?

A study reported in the forthcoming Journal of Marketing looks at both the presence of CMOs and their impact on business performance in companies with sales over US$250 million between 2000 and 2004. Surprisingly, less than 50% of these companies have a CMO. And perhaps more surprisingly, having a CMO did not result in either better business performance or worse business performance. In other words, having a CMO had no impact on performance at all!

The study raises some important questions: If the CMO is not adding significant value to the business, why have one at all? If a company has a CMO, what should they be doing to create value? And if the Chief Marketing Officer with a clear remit doesn’t create value, what does that mean for the more nebulous role of the Chief Customer Officer?

What do you think? Are CMOs just overpaid corporate baggage? Or should they reinvent themselves and start adding value?

Post a comment and get the conversation going.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager

Graham Hill (Dr G)
Business Troubleshooter | Questioning | Thoughtful | Industrious | Opinions my own | Connect with me on LinkedIn


  1. It appears that I am not the only one who is unhappy about Chief XYZ Officers.

    An article on the Knowledge@Emory website about title inflation is equally unhappy about simply attaching the ‘Chief’ & ‘Officer’ words to new C-suite positions.

    Decide for yourself and let us know your take on the issue.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager


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