Today’s CMO: What It Takes to Drive Growth


We work with CMOs every day, developing strategy and positioning businesses to enable growth and build brand strength from within their organizations. We have seen a role shift for CMOs over the past few years and have deep empathy for these leaders as they look to keep pace with an ever changing set of skills – more complex and more digital by the day.

Because we have a front row seat of today’s CMO, we see more and more of our clients responsible for delivering both top line revenue and profit. CMOs are not only expected to keep pace with the changing digital landscape, but also deliver the insights that ensure they are maximizing that landscape for growth and impact. At the same time, CEOs must maintain a deep understanding of the shifting customer experience and continually deliver superior service. In short, today’s role of CMO is not an easy gig.

So what does it take to drive growth as a CMO?

Some of the most successful CMO’s who have driven growth within their organizations adapt a growth mindset to begin with. By working closely with their c-suite counterparts, they develop the right brand strategy to support business goals and objectives. They  are relentless in nailing the right positioning and messaging to target the right target audiences. These tools then inform GTM strategies and sales enablement programs.

Through our work, we’ve seen a few tactics from CMOs who t successfully drive growth for their organizations. To really make an impact:

Get in the driver’s seat:

96% of CMOs today recognize the importance of disruptive growth when looking to drive revenue. And because you act as the brand guardians of your organization, you are best positioned to drive such growth. Your deep understanding of the people the brand is trying to reach (customers, prospects, and the wider market), and your authority over the data to prove it, puts you in the perfect position.

So leverage your knowledge of what customers want to build a strategy. A good CMO has the extensive persona research and access to customer behavior data to build a strategy around a targeted audience. And you wouldn’t have been hired for the job if you didn’t have the skills, tools, and knowledge needed to step up and own growth. By leveraging your closeness and deep knowledge of the brand you can identify growth opportunities and navigate these opportunities – growing reach, engagement, and loyalty by focusing on the right people at the right time.

Dedicate more time and budget to disruptive initiatives:

Many CMOs worry that their marketing budget may be at risk if they aren’t not delivering the needed results to move their business forward. Driving into growth mode often means stepping away from traditional initiatives and toward disruptive initiatives. And this means getting key people on board. Building a business case for these disruptive initiatives is a challenge and taking this risk in an informed manner requires a deep understanding of the brand – who it needs to reach and how. But when driven by a deep and thorough understanding of your brand, dedicating marketing budget to growth initiatives is bound to pay off for your business.

Align with the CEO and C-Suite to move faster:

In today’s world, it’s all about moving fast and efficiently. If you don’t move fast enough, you will simply fall behind the competition. So it’s important that you align the goals and objectives of your job with other goals and objectives in the c-suite.  Getting backing from the CEO, and the C-Suite all aligned and rallied behind growth initiatives can ensure that you can work efficiently to get your organization kicked into growth gear and keep a sustained growth pace moving forward.

Be a culture warrior:

As CMO, aspiring to be a ‘culture warrior’ is one of the best things you can do for your role and your business. Invest in your people. Behave with empathy, lead with purpose, and focus on strengthening connections within your organizations. CMOs should be the drivers of widening perspectives, breaking down silos, taking risks, and fueling productive change and groundbreaking innovation. These are the things that drive growth. Research has found that 67% of CMO’s who act as ‘culture warrior’ will exceed top-line targets by more than 10%, and 50% of ‘culture warriors’ will exceed targets by 25% or more.

Assuming accountability and leveraging your unique, deep knowledge of your business, your brand and the industry, will all help position your business for growth.

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