What do award-winning films have in common with CMOs and corporate strategy development?

CMOs are often armed with the data and insights they need to be customer-obsessed, which helps them identify areas of growth for their organization. By being customer-obsessed, organizations can ensure that they are laser-focused on providing their customers with what they need to be successful. Yet despite the fact that CMOs are the ones armed with all the information and analysis on the customer, the percentage of CMOs who are actually part of corporate strategy development sessions is much lower than you might expect. Fewer than 35% of CMOs surveyed in Forrester’s January 2022 Global CMO Strategy Survey said that they were always involved in corporate strategy development.

This begs the question: What can more CMOs do to gain that seat at the corporate strategy development table?

Similar to how award-winning movie productions depend on different roles and responsibilities to make them successful — from coproducers and screenwriters to the actors and production crew — building a corporate strategy is also an important production for an organization. It requires a combination of different functions to understand, prioritize, and align on external and internal dynamics that shape the growth opportunities and choices an organization will make to maximize its success three to five year out.  

CMOs don’t want to be spectators, simply receiving and reacting to the corporate strategy as it is handed down to them. Likewise, they don’t want to be mere contributors, inputting data and insights upon request and participating when asked to do so. CMOs want to be coproducers of the corporate strategy, partnering with the executive team and championing initiatives across the organization to identify and deliver value on growth opportunities.

To do that, CMOs need to possess the key capabilities to succeed in their remit to ignite and drive customer-obsessed growth for the organization. They need to be:

  • Leaders of change who steward transformation, champion customer obsession, and push the boundaries of customer experience front and center.
  • Engineers of alignment across different functions of the organization, enabling them to come together around a shared goal. CMOs achieve this by providing a shared view of customer insights and needs for the organization to execute on a customer-obsession strategy.
  • Harnessers of capabilities who identify and shape the right capabilities for marketing, enabling marketing organizations to be agile and adaptive to change so that they can champion customer obsession throughout the company.

Many CMOs have earned a seat at the strategy development table. It’s time they took it.