Perspectives from a CMO


Letter from our CMO

Welcome to, Deloitte’s content hub for marketing executives. Our goal is to bring new insights and perspectives to senior marketing executives to help them see their challenges and full potential in a new light. Most importantly, we will explore the multidimensional aspects of leadership in marketing, and how chief marketing officers are called upon to not just generate leads but to generate leadership, as well.

If you’re a CMO, you likely already know first-hand how the role has grown beyond the traditional confines of marketing. The intersection and simultaneous transformations across technology, organizational dynamics, customer behaviors, and business environment often require companies to lean on their CMOs for guidance across multiple disciplines. It’s because of these trends that many CMOs are called upon to act as chief culture officer, chief futurist, chief customer advocate, or even chief transformation architect. These new demands on marketing executives are at once an incredibly exciting opportunity and challenge, full of uncharted expectations, but also new executive expectations and scrutiny.

It’s something I have experienced firsthand as the newly appointed CMO for Deloitte. In fact, this new generation of challenges is a big part of why I was attracted to this role in the first place.

The rapidly evolving environment in which businesses operate today is also driving huge shifts in the relationships among the C-suite. Many CMOs now find themselves collaborating—and designing new alliances—with CFOs, CIOs, chief digital officers, chief experience officers, chief data officers, heads of sales, and heads of HR. While many of these functions are accustomed to working in silos, the CMO stands apart in that marketing touches literally every aspect of the organization, and what’s more, must act in equal partnership with the entire organization to be effective.

In other words, the next-generation CMO should now possess untold skills in diplomacy, organizational psychology, and relationship management. Breaking down silos and working toward true collaboration is a new imperative, and it’s not something every organization has had a chance to practice.

That’s why, for our inaugural theme, we are exploring the why, what, who, and how of C-suite collaboration.

The customer has long lived at the center of marketing activity, but—perhaps ironically—it’s taken digital technology to put the customer at the center for the rest of the business, as well. Now that customer behaviors and preferences are not only measurable but actionable, the rest of the corporate structure has had to shift toward a more integrated approach or risk disruption and obsolescence. But not every branch of an organization knows how to listen to, build relationships with, and organize programs around customers … and CMOs do. That’s why the customer-centric business imperative is one that falls squarely on the shoulders of CMOs—who can’t do it without the technological support and partnership of CIOs.

While the changes aren’t isolated to these roles, for CMOs the relationship with the CIO is one of the most critical to success. Our special content this quarter will explore the modern definitions of the CMO and CIO roles, how to manage the overlap, and best practices in collaboration between the two roles.

It’s a topic of great importance to Deloitte. I meet regularly with Larry Quinlan, Deloitte’s global chief information officer, and together we are driving a number of strategic initiatives focused on client insights, client experiences, digital assets, and knowledge management and reporting. Big data, combined with customer demands for client service and experience, excellence, and personalization are all leading to the need for traditionally separate teams to set aside inter-departmental differences and work together.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. At, we will track the ongoing transformation of the marketing role and the forces behind it, drawing upon the full breadth and depth of Deloitte’s diverse expertise and trends analysis. Whether you’re a future CMO or a seasoned chief executive looking for opportunities behind the challenges, our commitment to you is to help accelerate your learning curve and share the journey with you.

Diana O’Brien
Chief Marketing Officer, Deloitte LLP

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