Reversing the Decline in CMO Tenure

Greg Welch, partner at executive search firm Spencer Stuart and author of the firm's annual "CMO Tenure Study," says that CMOs must find their inner Leonardo Da Vinci. The painter of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper was also an engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. In a similar vein, CMOs must be highly versatile not only to prove their value to the C-suite but to stem the downward trend in CMO tenure. (Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard and president of the company's health care solution, also touts Da Vinci as a new model for CMOs in his book "Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow's Consumers.")

According to Spencer Stuart's 2022 "CMO Tenure Study," the average CMO tenure was 40 months in 2020, the lowest since 2009, as the pressure mounts on CMOs to prove that marketing is an asset and not an expense.

In addition to ad creative, distribution, and consumer engagement, CMOs need to be well-versed in product development, financing, online analytics, and immersive technologies, Welch says. They also need to take the time to strengthen their relationships with their CEO, CFO, CIO, as well as VPs throughout the company. Perhaps most important, CMOs have to consider themselves a businessperson first and marketer second.

In the latest episode of Champions of Growth, Welch joins host Matthew Schwartz to discuss how CMOs can expand their aperture throughout their company, improve their financial chops, and stop getting bogged down in the marketing-ese that fails to impress the rest of the C-suite.

The Champions of Growth Podcast airs Wednesdays at 2PM EST. For more information about the ANA Podcast Network, visit


"Reversing the Decline in CMO Tenure." Champions of Growth Podcast, 9/20/22.

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