CMO Turnover Reaches New High
Steve’s breakdown: Research like this is great to have while researching companies to call on. It’s also good for keeping present clients.
The below article is good but if you really want to dig in, go to the actual report at this link.
EVERYWHERE, USA: According to research just released by executive search firm Russell Reynolds, the first half of 2016 saw the highest level of CMO departures and arrivals since its study began in 2012. The retail sector was particularly volatile with almost half of the 30 largest U.S.-based retailers experiencing CMO turnover. The complexity of the role and acumen required to be a modern marketing leader is challenging many CMOs to meet increased expectations. According the Richard Sanderson,co-leader of the marketing officers practice at Russell Reynolds, “Some CMOs are struggling to keep pace with the rapidly evolving skill set necessary to be successful. The days of the brand-oriented, marketing communications-focused, creative-led CMO are waning. CMOs are now required to demonstrate balance of left brain and right brain skills. They are expected to play a leadership role in data analytics, customization, personalization and optimization and to drive highly targeted, sophisticated, complex, digital-led campaigns and activities.””
The data also reveals several interesting trends:
• Gender diversity is improving in the CMO ranks with 40% of the new hires being women. “The data is clear that diverse teams perform better, and there is a lot of exceptional female marketing talent across industries. More companies are now consciously searching within this talent pool to find leaders for the top marketing job,” said Lori Wright, the new CMO at BlueJeans Network.
• Financial services companies are looking outside their industry for experiences consumer marketers. The industry long renowned for undifferentiated offerings and uninspired marketing campaigns appears to be seeking new thinking.
• Consumer and Technology companies don’t appear to trust outsiders and prefer to hire CMOs with prior industry experience (84% for Consumer and 72% for Tech). Given the growth within the Tech sector, this is good news for aspiring CMOs who are currently “number two” at their current companies.
This data appears to support my long-standing belief that CMOs change jobs for one of four major reasons:
1. A new CEO is hired and replaces the current CMO as part of a broader leadership change process.
2. The CMO fails to live up to expectations and is replaced. This often occurs when the business results a CMO could produce with the levers they controlled were unrealistic. (For example, the new brand campaign did not overcome fundamental product issues.) It also occurs when the company is growing faster or needs to transition quicker than the CMO’s ability to change.
3. The CMO is capable of delivering business results and is therefore promoted to a higher-level position, often regional president, brand president or COO. This occurs most often in companies that understand and value the contribution of the marketing function.
4. The CMO is bored and ready for a new challenge. After two or three years of successfully executing their strategy to positively impact their businesses, they are ready to tackle something new. One CMO put it this way, “I like to design houses, not maintain them.”
For marketing leader who are honing their skills to lead growth initiatives in the digital age, opportunities to become a CMO abound. But the expectations have never been higher, so being aligned with other C-suite members about what can reasonably be accomplished is more essential than ever. Chris Hummel, the new CMO at United Rentals puts it this way, “A great CMO elevates the customer experience and amplifies the best of his or her company, but the continued ambiguity around accountability makes gaining executive alignment critical to set realistic goals for success.”