The 10 dimensions of a modern CMO

The role of chief marketing officer is changing. Here Marketing examines the tensions facing marketers in their quest to acquire the skills most likely to propel them into the boardroom.

Digital expert                         vs

Marketing traditionalist

Technical knowledge - Understands and knows how to apply new technologies.

Analytical mindset - Able to discern what matters most from emerging data sources.

Courage - Pushes the edge to increase the impact of marketing.

Functional knowledge - Understands and knows how to apply proven marketing fundamentals.

Team leadership - Knows how to effectively co-ordinate, develop and nurture various marketing specialities.

Results orientation - Works with non-marketing executives to define and deliver marketing's contribution to achieving business goals.

Business leader                     vs

Marketing guru

Strategic orientation - Helps chief executives envision where to take the company and how to get there.

Change management - Effectively drives change across large, diversified and complex organisations.

Customer orientation - Focuses energy of people across multiple functions/divisions on delivering differentiated value to customers.

Results orientation - Passionate about delivering both top and bottom line.

Creativity - Is a primary source of ideas, words and imagery that compellingly communicate the brand.

Courage - Willing to be unconventional.

Charisma - Creates confidence via force of personality.

Innovation champion             vs

Shopper expert

Collaboration and influencing - Engages board, peers and organisation to envision transforming the marketplace.

Comfort with ambiguity - Accepts the discomfort of not knowing which ideas will eventually succeed.

Courage - Protects and nurtures visionary ideas even when they feel threatening.

Analytical mindset - Synthesises complex data to gain crucial insights into consumer preferences and behaviour.

Technical knowledge - Understands how best to apply the tools of consumer marketing to capitalise on insights.

Results orientation - Urgency to meet and exceed immediate business targets.

Sector specialist                     vs

Versatile partner

Industry knowledge - Has deep experiential knowledge of what has worked best in the past within the company's industry.

Influence - Has credibility with industry peers and a focused industry network.

Predictability - Delivers incremental gains in sales and market share in steady-state marketplace.

Respectful persuasion - Personally aligns organisation behind groundbreaking vision, yet honours the company's heritage and existing strengths.

Natural leadership - Effectively leads people who have deeper industry knowledge and experience. Inspires confidence, energy and focus, even while leading organisations through uncharted waters.

Curiosity - Constantly refreshes insight and perspective on an intellectual, experiential and personal level.

Agility - Effectively anticipates changes in market environment. Quickly adapts.

Integration and synthesis - Blends diverse, previously separate talents and technologies to create new capabilities.

Business orientation - Drives top and bottom-line growth. Makes marketing's contribution to financial performance unmistakably clear.

Sophisticated strategist     vs

Entrepreneurial trailblazer

Market knowledge - Has deep understanding of customers, competitors and keys to success within existing markets.

Analytical mindset - Synthesises complex data to gain crucial insights into consumer preferences and behaviour.

Predictability - Effectively leverages proven approaches to meet or beat accurate forecasts.

Curiosity - Actively explores what is practical and effective in uncharted territory.

Agility - Effectively anticipates changes in market environment. Quickly adapts.

Results orientation - Intense focus on high-upside potential.

Resilience - Energetically overcomes failures, which the trailblazer cannot fear.

Influence - Able to convince chief executive and C-suite colleagues to make unconventional marketing, product and brand investments.

Source: Egon Zehnder



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