Why the Chief Marketing Officer Matters

Despite suggestions that chief marketing officers are their lost their influence, new research reveals that CMOs can have a strong impact on company performance. Data from 155 publicly traded firms cited in Harvard Business Review indicate that companies with a CMO perform “15% better, on average, than companies without one.”

The authors of the study — Frank Germann, Peter Ebbes and Rajdeep Grewal — do not believe that adding a CMO to a senior management team acts as a one-size-fits-all solution for increased profits. They found that three company characteristics make the role of a CMO particularly advantageous to organizations:

  1. Strong sales growth
  2. Small firm size
  3. Short CEO tenure

Firms with strong sales growth would benefit from an advocate in senior leadership who can build customer-facing initiatives. Small firms and shorter CEO tenure give the CMO a broader bandwidth, empowering a broader reach and bigger impact.

Siegel + Gate, a global branding agency, suggests that CMOs can focus on one goal to succeed in their roles, no matter their company. Siegal + Gate’s CMO, Margeret Molloy, said in the Huffington Post, “Leaders who commit to articulating their company’s purpose in a clear and simple way play a critical part in making innovation easier.” Defining this purpose is not about clarifying what a company does but why they do it. This sense of meaning unites an organization and provides value to potential customers, empowering a CMO to make a strong impact in their organization.