More CEOs believe that their companies are focused on customers than CMOs. According to Forrester’s State Of Customer Obsession Survey, 2023, 90% of CEOs indicate that their focus on customers guides their brand, product, and pricing strategies — while only 57% of B2C CMOs feel the same. This fundamental misalignment is just one of the reasons why CMOs (and their marketing functions) get marginalized. “CEOs struggle to clearly articulate what marketing success looks like,” said Richard Sanderson, marketing practice lead at Spencer Stuart. That’s why the CEO needs a trusted marketing partner who represents the customer at every touchpoint.

CMO Proximity To The CEO Shapes Your Company’s Growth Agenda

Forrester’s Q1 2023 B2C Marketing CMO Pulse Survey finds that just over half (54%) of B2C chief marketing officers report directly to the CEO. The rest report to a chief something else officer — an intermediary between themselves and their company’s chief executive. But despite the ongoing debate, whether the CMO reports directly to the CEO or not is a moot point. Under the right conditions, it doesn’t matter — as long as the CMO and CEO have consistent proximity to one another.

This is the topic of my new Forrester report, “Untuck The CMO.” It addresses why CEOs choose to have their CMOs report into intermediary roles and what CMOs can do to avoid getting “tucked.”

CMOs’ Short Tenure Is Actually A Good Thing

Industry headlines paint a gloomy picture for CMOs, citing their short tenures. But in reality, the opposite is true: More CMOs move into better roles. Newly published data from Spencer Stuart shows that 77% of CMOs (who leave their roles) are either promoted or take on similar or bigger roles at other companies. Sanderson at Spencer Stuart told us, “We need to change the narrative around low CMO tenure. The CMO role is very much a platform for bigger and better things.”

Richard will be joining me for a breakout session at Forrester’s CX North America event, where we’ll discuss the state of the CMO role. Come see us live in Nashville on Tuesday, June 13 at 3:05 pm CDT.