Why the CMO is next vice CEO

The heat is on like never before – the CMO has to be the captain of an army oftalent, tech and devices, while also appeasing the demigods of the KPI chart. The CFO wants more. The CRO is selling things that haven’t even been built yet. The customers need someone to be their voice within the organization – or they’ll find someone else to take their money. And the CEO is tapping her foot because the infrastructure can’t handle all the big, hairy, audacious goals slotted for next quarter.

Being a great CMO means performing one of the slickest magic tricks around – being everything to everyone. Forget about wearing many different hats – this is like trying to put a diver’s wetsuit on over a suit of armor.

“The CMO’s job is to lead the company and lead in growing revenues as well,” says John Koetsier, VP of Research at VentureBeat. One thing that all types of leadership have in common is this – leadership is essentially problem-solving. The good news? Solving problems is what marketers do best.


But the pressure is increasing – 61 percent of CMOs report feeling pressure from the CEO or the Board to prove the value of marketing, according to the February 2015 results of the Duke School Of Business CMO Survey. And more than half of those CMOs (58 percent) said that pressure is increasing – not a single respondent said that the pressure to perform was decreasing.

duke cmo survey growthbeat 2015

Source: Duke School of Business CMO Survey, Feb 2015

Here’s the thing about pressure – it works. Research from the same study has suggested that those marketers who are feeling the burn are delivering better marketing ROI than those whose senior leaders are going easy on the team. The pressure is here, and it’s here to stay.

“The CMO needs a place they can go to answer all these challenges and questions that they have. Until now, they haven’t had a place that can help filter through thousands of solutions out there,” said Matt Marshall, VentureBeat CEO. “What better forum to answer some of the questions than in a group of trusted peers?” he added.

It’s a powerful thing to be in a room of people who are all coming at what is essentially the same problem, each from a different angle.

That’s why GrowthBeat is essential.

We all know that one of the most telling elements of success in business comes down to organizational culture. The CMO is the driving force of change – working toward a growth mentality across the organization. It won’t happen, however, unless all of those elements of the business are driving at the same goal.

At GrowthBeat 2015, we’re looking at how marketing leaders are driving innovation throughout the organization. We’ll be joined by over 500 senior marketing execs from top brands like Yahoo, Target, Priceline, Zillow, Nordstrom, and Pinterest on August 17 and 18.

Our research team has coordinated an info-packed agenda focusing on the topics that matter most, including a track of sessions dedicated to the challenge of leadership beyond the marketing team.

Join us at the Parc 55 hotel in San Francisco, and hear from marketing leaders on the themes that impact the heart of our businesses. We’ll specifically look at leadership issues and the secret of how growth-focused companies leverage culture to make big impacts on the bottom line. We’ve curated top marketers to give you advice on your career and on how to make the biggest impression on the C-suite. They’ll help you get noticed in the boardroom and offer results-based suggestions on the best way to grow influence outside of the marketing team. No matter which vertical you live in, this is two days of learning and networking that you can’t afford to miss.

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