Chief marketing officer

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A chief marketing officer (CMO) is a corporate executive responsible for marketing activities in an organization. Most often the position reports to the chief executive officer.


With primary or shared responsibility for areas such as sales management, product development, distribution channel management, marketing communications (including advertising and promotions), pricing, market research, and customer service, CMOs are faced with a diverse range of specialized disciplines in which they are required to be knowledgeable. This challenge is compounded by the fact that the day-to-day activities of these functions, which range from the highly analytical (e.g. – pricing and market research) to highly creative (advertising and promotions), are carried out by subordinates possessing learning and cognitive styles to which the CMO must adapt his or her own leadership style.

Beyond the challenges of leading their own subordinates, the CMO is invariably reliant upon resources beyond their direct control. That is to say, the priorities and/or resources of functional areas not reporting to marketing such as production, information technology, corporate communications and public affairs, legal, human resources and finance have a direct impact on the achievement of marketing objectives. Consequently, more than any other senior executive, the CMO must influence peers in order to achieve their own goals. Clearly, this necessity to lead peers compounds the complexity of challenges faced by the CMO.

The CMO; Chief Marketing Officer, is typically a member of the executive team and typically reports to the CEO or COO. Peers to the CMO include Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Communications/Public Affairs Officer, Chief Supply Chain Officer, General Counsel.


Ultimately, the CMO is responsible for facilitating growth, sales and marketing strategy. He or she must work towards objectives such as revenue generation, cost reduction, or risk mitigation. The unpredictable impact of marketing efforts, coupled with the need to drive profits, often leads to a short tenure for most CMOs. Forbes reported that the average CMO tenure in 2008 was just over 28 months.[1]

According to a 2011 IBM global study of 1,734 CMOs around the world, CMOs see customer loyalty as their top priority in the digital area; their second priority is to design experiences for tablets and mobile apps.[2]


  1. ^ "Why Do Chief Marketing Officers Have A Short Shelf Life?". Forbes. 05.15.09. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  2. ^ "From Stretched to Strengthened, Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study". IBM. October 2011. p. 34. 

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