B2B CMOs Become More Strategic, Seek to Change Agency Role

With so many changes taking place in the kinds of media available and in how potential customers use this media,  CMOs are finding that their organizational roles are expanding. This development is especially true in B2B companies. Forrester Research says these CMOS businessmeetingmust evolve or move on.”

Forrester carried out its study in conjunction with the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and focused on high level marketing executives in a wide range of industries. One key data point from the research shows an increase in length of service for today's CMO. During the recession, the CMO position was often seen as a revolving door with a 23 month average tenure. These days, the average CMO stays with a company for nearly 4 years. Part of the reason for the longer employment period may be that these professionals feel they have increasing organizational clout. About ¾ have a growing influence on corporate strategy and over half now have a seat in board of directors meetings where decisions are made.

CMOs also feel they are being asked to do more with fewer resources and are being held more accountable in the past. To meet these challenges, they intend to employ technology solutions and seek to hire younger workers  who can be easily trained and quickly adapt to changes in the workplace.

These adjustments in the traditional role mean that CMOs will pay more attention to ‘company strategy, not campaign tactics.’ Agencies are likely to find themselves in a precarious position as the CMO focus shifts. The concept of a lead agency may be replaced by “rotating lead, centralized executive oversight or ad hoc multiagency teams.”

If you are providing agency services to marketers, have you been impacted by the evolving CMO role? If so, have you been able to carve out a new role for yourself?

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.