“In some organizations, just the expectations of CMOs are just so out of whack with the reality of what a CMO can really deliver on the timelines, and with the resources and with the headwinds that they have…
“I think that in some organizations, you’re just being set up to fail, right?”
Gartner analyst Chris Ross shared this perspective in the wake of Spencer Stuart’s annual research on the tenure of Chief Marketing Officers.
Spencer Stuart has been tracking the CMO role at the top 100 advertisers for 19 years and recently found that average CMO tenure fell to the lowest level in more than a decade. CMOs working at the top 100 advertisers in the US had been at the role for just 39 months, or 3.3 years, half the average tenure of CEOs.
Lack of clarity in the CMO role has always been a challenge, particularly relative to other seats at the C-suite table. Some still view marketing merely as the “coloring-in” department and others see the marketing as responsible for everything throughout the customer experience, which ultimately touches everything in a business.
This can lead to the common curse of CMOs: “accountability without authority.”
In today’s environment, there’s the added challenge that modern marketing requires expertise in both brand-building AND performance marketing. I’ve heard this described recently as being a “full-stack marketer.”
As Greg Welch at Spencer Stuart summed it up: “Winning today is really, really hard.”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: