Tom Mahoney

From Chief Storyteller to Chief Growth Officer, the Changing Role of the CMO

by Jenna Sindle

According to new research from the CMO Council and Deloitte sheds light on the changing role of the CMO from chief brand build and storyteller to chief growth officer.  But what does it take for a Chief Marketing Officer to make the transition from their traditional role to take on new goals?

The CMO’s Growth-Driving Playbook, which was the result of the research, shared that these growth-focused leaders do indeed “prioritize, focus, and collaborate differently.” Analyzing the insight and data the CMO Council and Deloitte identified five key attributes that separate this new generation of CMOs from their peers.

According to the playbook growth focused CMOs: 

  1. Define the difference between gains and growth.
  2. Speak the language of the business.
  3. Connect across functional silos.
  4. Mobilize support for a growth agenda.
  5. Think like a CEO and prepare for the role.

Of the five characteristics in the playbook, only one surprised the Modern Marketing Today team – the trajectory from CMO to CEO. However, a growing number of companies including McDonald’s, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Mercedes Benz, and H&R Block are all led by career marketers. “The hallmark of these executives is that while they were passionate about the brand, they led by understanding and embracing the business.” Moreover, no other executive in the company has a better understanding of the customer and a command of the data that translates customer behavior into customer engagement. 

Want to learn more about the changing role of the CMO, how to embrace that change, and deliver success? You can read the stories of nineteen marketers on this journey and learn their key plays here.