Boardroom with missing Marketing Leader

Senior marketing executives move on more quickly than their peers according to a recent US study by Korn Ferry.

Korn Ferry are a well-known people advisory firm. The study of the top 1000 US companies (by revenue) examined the age and tenure of top level management.

It comes as no surprise to us that there's a higher turnover in marketing (CMO) roles. These findings reflect our own experience around the challenges CEOs’ face in recruiting the right marketing leader for their business. A CMO needs an exceptionally broad set of leadership competences to succeed. They might be recruited for their creative vision, but crucially they must gain respect for their business acumen and influence in the boardroom.

The CMOs’ career path may typically have taken them through a series of more junior creative roles, rather than business roles – which can lead to gaps in business experience. Katrina Lowes, Head of Marketing at Vodafone Global Enterprise said at a recent event, “Shiny things don’t hit targets …. Whenever someone comes through the door really excited about an idea, here are the questions I ask: Who are we targeting? What do we want them to do? How will we measure the impact?”

It is imperative that somebody in a CMO role understands that creativity and innovation are important but they must always be targeted and measured against business objectives. It’s pretty common to find companies struggling to make headway with their marketing because they can’t find a single individual to make it happen. They’ve either got a creative genius who can’t make an impact in the boardroom, or have enlisted an experienced business director without an iota of creativity! Both these hires will inevitably lead to marketing failure.

However, it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom! It is possible to mix and match good internal talent with outside support. If you’ve got a CMO with considerable business acumen, ‘buy in’ the creativity… if you’ve already got a great creative team in place ‘buy in’ some strategic marketing guidance that will win over your boardroom and grant passageway to marketing success.