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New study: The confidence-boosting scope of high-impact CMOs

Setting the stage for greater C-suite impact

What scope should CMOs own to make a greater impact? Jen Veenstra, leader of Deloitte’s CMO Program, explores new research that reveals the correlation between where CMOs focus and their level of confidence in C-suite conversations and bottom-line impact.

Understanding the CMO confidence gap

In 2019, Deloitte surveyed 575 C-suite executives from the Fortune 500 to see what they really think about the CMO position today. The findings revealed a significant disparity in confidence between CMOs and their C-suite peers.

Just 5 percent of CMOs reported being highly confident in their ability to impact strategic decision-making and garner support for their initiatives among their peers, the lowest self-ranking in the C-suite. By contrast, 55 percent of CEOs consider themselves high performers across these domains. How can CMOs bridge the gap and seize their voice?

CMO activities that build value, confidence, and influence

In the next iteration of this research, we wanted to better understand what separates the cohort of confident, high-impact CMOs from their peers. We benchmarked 401 marketing organizations from some of the world’s biggest brands to see what leading marketers think about the CMO position today, how they see their role evolving, and how they measure success. The findings were striking:

  • Most CMOs are chasing scope that isn’t moving the needle on impact: In our survey, three areas surfaced as top future ownership priorities for the CMO position: Business partnerships, corporate strategy, and public relations. However, when we isolated data for high-confidence, high-impact CMOs, these aren’t the biggest game changers for impact and influence.
  • However, CMOs who own four key initiatives are twice as confident as their peers in their impact on the organization: The confidence-boosting scope of high-impact CMOs encompasses innovation road maps; company vision and culture; customer relationships and experience; and sales processes, territory, and outside sales. Yet these activities are not the scope most CMOs are seeking to own.
  • Where CMOs focus in the marketing funnel plays a key role in confidence: CMOs who are responsible for and measure their impact by lower-funnel activities (final purchase) are twice as confident as those responsible for the upper-funnel (awareness and consideration).

Bridging the divide

Our findings indicate that as the CMO position continues to evolve, marketing leaders can take action by course-correcting their journeys to position themselves for more meaningful C-suite conversations and greater organizational impact. While CMOs are expected by C-suite peers to own the customer experience, CMOs may underestimate how valuable the related insights can be for the entire organization. By bringing this expertise to the table, CMOs can make a bigger impact on C-suite conversations and encourage more customer-centric behavior throughout their organization.

To read the full report on Deloitte Insights, click here.

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