Chief marketing officer

Chief marketing officer

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a corporate title referring to an executive responsible for various marketing activities in an organization. Most often the position reports to the chief executive officer.



With primary or shared responsibility for areas such as sales management, product development, distribution channel management, marketing communications (including advertising and promotions), pricing, market research, and customer service, CMOs are faced with a diverse range of specialized disciplines in which they are required to be knowledgeable. This challenge is compounded by the fact that the day-to-day activities of these functions, which range from the highly analytical (e.g. – pricing and market research) to highly creative (advertising and promotions), are carried out by subordinates possessing learning and cognitive styles to which the CMO must adapt his or her own leadership style.

Beyond the challenges of leading their own subordinates, the CMO is invariably reliant upon resources beyond their direct control. That is to say, the priorities and/or resources of functional areas not reporting to marketing such as production, information technology, corporate communications and public affairs, legal, human resources and finance have a direct impact on the achievement of marketing objectives. Consequently, more than any other senior executive, the CMO must influence peers in order to achieve their own goals. Clearly, this necessity to lead peers compounds the complexity of challenges faced by the CMO.

The CMO is typically a member of the executive team and typically reports to the CEO or COO. Peers to the CMO include Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Communications/Public Affairs Officer, Chief Supply Chain Officer, General Counsel. (see corporate executive team profiles at;; and other global brands)


Ultimately, the CMO is responsible for facilitating growth, sales and marketing strategy. He or she must work towards objectives such as revenue generation, cost reduction or risk mitigation. The unpredictable impact of marketing efforts coupled with the need to drive profits often leads to a short tenure for most CMO's. Forbes cited the average CMO tenure has grown to just over 28 months in 2008.[1]

Coupled with innovative thinking, the CMO must find practical solutions.[2] Oftentimes, CMOs are challenged by the status quo. Deviations without monetary results can be misunderstood as incompetence and misguided thinking.

According to an IBM global study of 1,734 CMOs around the world, CMOs see customer loyalty as their top priority in the digital area ; the second priority is to design experiences for tablett and mobile apps.[3]

Brand Decision - Ultimately, the CMO determines the direction of the branding, however, sometimes mistakes happen if the CMO doesn't prioritize the customer base over the business model.

CMO Associations

CMO Institute

Headquartered in Boston, the Chief Marketing Officer Institute is a not-for-profit industry association dedicated to serving as the primary resources for researchers and practitioners interested in the role and leadership challenges facing the CMO and other marketing executives. "About CMO Institute". 

The Institute was originally founded in order to serve as an information clearinghouse for both academic and private researchers interested in advancing the study of issues related to the Chief Marketing Officer role. However, while the Institute still maintains a robust collection of articles, analysis, and data related to CMO issues, the organization also provides support to both academicians and executives on a broad range activities – from crafting CMO job descriptions and advising Chief Executives, to public speaking engagements, and more.

In December 2007, The CMO Institute issued a Call for Papers for its inaugural volume of the Chief Marketing Officer Journal, which is scheduled for publication in Summer 2008.

CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council's 6,000 members control more than $200 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include over 12,000 global executives across 100 countries in multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Loyalty Leaders, Online Marketing Performance Institute, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience.

The CMO Council, founded in 2001, is an invitation-only peer-to-peer networking and thought leadership group working to further the stature, credibility, influence, and understanding of the strategic marketing function among business executives, opinion leaders and critical stakeholders. CMO Council members are drawn from the upper echelons of corporate management to form a trusted, close-knit community of peers who use their access, connections and expertise for mutual benefit, support, referral and professional advancement. Membership is exclusive to top-ranking corporate marketing decision makers only, not consultants or agencies. Members typically have at least 15 years of marketing experience and have held executive management positions at new venture, emerging growth or established enterprise organizations. Nominees must have demonstrated marketing prowess, a proven track record of accomplishment, and leadership in evangelizing marketing and branding practices. "About CMO Council". 

The CMO Council hosts an annual gathering known as the CMO Council's CMO Summit. Each year, members of the CMO Council gather to network and leverage this powererful channel of insight, access and influence. "About the Official CMO Summit". 

The CMO Council's official publication, Marketing Magnified, is a resource for both members and non-members alike. Content is frequently accepted to inclusion and a general call for content to those in the marketing ecosystem is always open. "About Marketing Magnified". 


External links

Articles & Research on CMOs
CMO Peer Groups

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