Russell Reynolds Associates: Inside the Mind of the Chief Marketing Officer

The Russell Reynolds Associates database allows us to make statistically driven observations about the characteristics possessed by leaders in a particular field. Russell Reynolds compared 36 CMOs from companies totaling more than $1.5 trillion in market capitalization with our broader database of executives (as well as with chief executive officers (CEO) and other C-suite figures) on 60 psychometric scales from well-validated leadership assessments to understand on which scales the CMOs showed statistical differences from the other populations.

Executive Summary

Growth is firmly at the top of most companies' agenda, yet few have a dedicated chief growth officer. Consumers now demand targeted messages, delivered across multiple platforms, at a time and place of their choosing.

The chief marketing officer (CMO) profile has evolved to respond to the growth agenda. CMO's have developed strong characteristics around innovative, pioneering and influential behavior.

These extreme behavioral characteristics are a double-edged sword. The traits that help to succeed in the CMO role may set up clashes with other C-suite members and also may be a hindrance in CMOs' onward career trajectory.

When creating digital change, this group is well-positioned. CMO's share many attributes with chief digital officers (CDO) that facilitate strong change and partnership relationships.

Will this polarizing personality type be the CMO model going forward? The future of the CMO may well be a full splintering of the role into sub types that are driven by particular business needs and a more tightly articulated psychological profile.

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Richard Sanderson, Norm Yustin, Mallory Samson, Melissa Swift
Thought leadership category