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Marketing, Sales and Strategy Officers

The evolved CMO in 2016: CMOs broaden their influence and leadership

7/6/2016 John Abele and Sheryl Pattek
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 The evolved CMO

Few functional roles are more vital—or more fast-changing—than that of the chief marketing officer (CMO). A survey of 275 CMOs conducted in partnership with Forrester explores the changing nature of the role and the skills that will be required to master it. The survey, the fourth in a series that began in 2008, found that:

CMOs are establishing themselves as full business partners. After years of aspiring to be treated as more than functional experts, CMOs are finally proving their business chops. Tasked with delivering against P&L metrics, they’re increasingly partnering with peers in key roles to drive business and brand results (Figure 1).

Evolved CMO figure 1 

Two-thirds of CMOs assume responsibility for customer experience. Marketers recognize that delivering on the brand promise means ensuring that all customer experiences are aligned to a common brand vision. As they embrace customer experience, their objectives encompass customer retention as well as acquisition, and they must master an augmented set of functional skills.

Leading organizational transformation is the common challenge. Winning in the age of the customer requires a fundamental reset of a company’s operating model. Evolved CMOs are championing this transformation and taking on the challenges of culture and talent management, process redesign, and data and business technology realignment.

To download the full report, please click the download link above.

John M. Abele ( is global managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles’ Marketing, Sales & Strategy Officers Practice; he is based in the Chicago office.

Sheryl Pattek ( is the vice president and executive partner leading the CMO Executive Program at Forrester.

The authors wish to thank Forrester’s Anna Berman, Sharyn Leaver, Ian McPherson, and Ryan Trafton for their contributions to this report.

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