30 Top CMOs Band Together to Drive Excellence in Marketing

September 20, 2017

By Nadine Dietz, Nick Primola

The ANA CMO Talent Challenge Playbook


The pressure facing today's chief marketing officers is unprecedented. The responsibility of driving company growth under increasing scrutiny and widespread misunderstanding of the marketing function has, in turn, created a massive CMO movement to shift the paradigm. Today, the ANA released the ANA CMO Talent Challenge Playbook, which showcases amazing efforts by 30 of the world's top CMOs who are all leading their teams to success and redefining the rules of what it takes to be a great CMO.

The role of the CMO is among the most complicated of all C-suite roles and it requires incredible discipline to serve a broad range of stakeholders. These stakeholders range from the board and CEO to functional peers, direct reports, employees, customers and, of course, the empowered consumer. Not to mention, CMOs need to anticipate and prepare for rapid ongoing internal and external change, for which no blueprints exist. Clearly, there are many balls to juggle (while not dropping any).

The video below is intended to provide a glimpse into some of the real challenges that CMOs face today. CEOs continually tell us they are looking for leaders in the marketing function who can energize the entire company by painting a picture of what could be — all while driving profitable growth. Some organizations are rethinking the CMO all together, with some CEOs considering eliminating the CMO role and opting instead for a chief growth or commercial officer. The pressures on CMOs coupled with the radical and continuous change in technology, the rise of the modern workforce and the growing demands of the futuristic consumer are leading even "master CMOs" to seek counsel and alliance from new places. With this as a backdrop, it should come as no surprise that CMO tenure is hovering at 48 months, making it among the lowest in the C-suite.

Courtesy of Spencer Stuart

The time has come for leaders in the marketing function to take action, or as Bob Liodice, CEO of the ANA, says, "Take Our Industry Back!"

A year ago, the ANA brought together a select group of marketing luminaries to debate in earnest these obstacles to success. From that discussion, the ANA CMO Talent Challenge was born.

The ANA's CMO Talent Challenge is a rallying cry for CMOs to truly band together to help further the marketing function. This initiative is being driven by an exceptional advisory board, which includes Linda Boff, CMO of GE; Raja Rajamannar, CMO of Mastercard; Kristin Lemkau, CMO of JPMorgan Chase; Alicia Enciso, CMO of Nestlé USA; Jon Iwata, Chief Brand Officer of IBM; and Jeff Jones, former CMO of Target and current CEO of H&R Block.

The ANA CMO Talent Challenge is seemingly simple: to establish excellence in the marketing function, CMOs are being asked to develop their teams and cultivate the pipeline of the next generation of marketing talent.

Meeting this challenge is not so simple as having a budget and a training agenda aren't enough. CMOs must exhibit exceptional leadership skills to align their C-suite and teams to uphold a brand purpose that they've invested millions to define. They are tasked with delivering the brand intentions explicitly with customers and implicitly through employees — who serve as brand ambassadors — which insists on CMOs being vested beyond their direct organization. To fuel company growth and attract the best talent today, CMOs need to be insatiable in their quest for innovation and provide all the support required to inspire winning cultures. And it requires a serious dedication to training and development to ensure every person on their team is equipped to take on rapidly evolving challenges. This work requires deep emotional intelligence, leadership practice, and amazing agility to lead their teams to greatness.

Need help? Everyone does. It has been said that if you want to go fast, go alone — but if you want to go far, go as a team. This is precisely why many of today's most successful CMOs have come together to contribute their experience, advice and counsel through the ANA CMO Talent Challenge Playbook. We are honored to bring their stories forward and invite you to join the ANA CMO Talent Challenge today to keep building for the future!


Nadine Dietz is the author of the ANA CMO Talent Challenge Playbook and host of "CMO Moves." Nick Primola is head of the CMO Practice at the ANA. Special thanks to Greg Welch, senior partner at Spencer Stuart, for his contribution to this post.


comments (1)

Tim Britt

October 20, 2017 7:45am ET

I have to say I think any CEO appointing a marketer under the title of Chief Commercial Officer would be completely missing the point. Marketers have to be commercially astute but financial growth is a product of marketing. Taking back marketing shouldn't start with giving it away in the first place which is the only thing this would achieve.

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