The pace of change in marketing over the last five years has been staggering, the next five years will move even faster. Is your marketing leader keeping pace?
Most organizations today are much happier with their marketing than they were a decade ago. As a result, CMO tenure is on a significant rise. Is your top marketing leadership ready for the change coming over the next five years? Have they kept you ahead of your competition during the last five?
As trends in position tenure and role responsibility continue to change, it’s more important than ever for you to identify and recruit the best possible CMO to secure your company’s growth. The long-term effects of a great marketing leader provide exponentially better results than an “average” or even “good” alternative.
A Stabilizing Position
The Chief Marketing Officer position across all industries has long been notorious for short tenures and high turnover. In 2004, the average CMO seat was filled for less than two years before its occupant left for another job or, more likely, was let go for poor results. Marketing executive search firms were busy keeping up with constant demand for fresh marketing leadership.
The challenge was finding a marketing leader who could navigate your company through unprecedented change, which led to frequent turnover in the role. As digital and new media channels have gained prominence, it has become easier for corporations to interview for great marketing leaders. A marketing executive search firm filled with former marketing professionals can take the guesswork out of hiring the best marketing leadership.
Today, the average CMO tenure is 45 months; almost doubled from decade ago. This is still short compared to some other executive positions—the average CFO job lasts about 10 years, a CEO position about 8. Still, the position stabilized somewhat from the extremely volatile state just a few years ago).
Nevertheless, the CMO’s chair remains a mystery in many organizations. Companies expect perpetually improving returns on marketing budgets, and even those who can provide short term results are sometimes unable to navigate through the changing landscape.
How are top marketing leaders keeping up with the speed of new technology, strategy, and channel options to provide their organization with a sustainable competitive advantage? If your CMO is one of those who isn’t staying abreast of the rapid changes in the marketing world, then your company is at risk of falling behind those that do.
Longer Tenures: Good or Bad for Your Company?
The gradual lengthening of CMO tenure is a very positive trend and makes it more important than ever that your marketing executives are better and brighter than your competition’s. CMOs that stay in place for an extended period of time bring stability and can guide long-term strategies to fruition over several years, building systematic and sustainable platform for growth.
Yet a CMO that stays around longer isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be getting the best possible results or that their past consistency will continue. When your CMO starts struggling to stay ahead of changes in marketing, longer tenures mean your company might be stuck with a lackluster marketing leader for months or years past their prime.
This severely hampers your growth, costs you customers and revenue, and sets you back from your competition.
Is Your CMO Delivering?
Underperforming CMOs all too often outstay their usefulness. Some companies are reluctant to deal with the tedious (and often expensive) process of letting the current head of marketing go and finding a rock star. Others just harbor the vague sense that their marketing efforts aren’t quite where they should be, unable to readily identify their CMO’s ineffectiveness. Either way opportunities are lost.
It’s common for companies uncertain about exactly what they want from marketing to drag their feet when it comes time to consider new leadership in the marketing department. Replacing your marketing chief can be costly endeavor that disrupts many of your company’s functions. And the looming possibility of having to repeat the process a couple years down the road for similar reasons is intimidating.
The Difference between a Good and Great Fit
If current trends continue, you could have your next CMO for many years—the difference between picking a good leader and a great one now will translate to a huge difference over time. Whether they don’t quite mesh with your business philosophy or are always just a little behind the cutting edge, many CMOs are just “good enough” to get by but not exceptional enough to take your company to the next level.
The difference between a top-tier leader and a B-player in ability, innovativeness, and fitting in well with a corporate culture might not be immediately apparent, but after several years the gap in the overall performance of the two will be tremendous.
WHERE WILL YOUR MARKETING BE IN 5 YEARS?
Find the CMO You Need with a Marketing Executive Search Firm
Replacing your head of marketing can be a daunting task, but one that is often best for your business in the long and short term. Like any important hire, it’s a big step to take. But the payoff is huge.
Should you be ready to take that step, you can make the experience drastically easier (and reduce the stress on your staff) with the help of a marketing executive search firm that truly understands marketing. A skilled agency will match you with candidates that have the skills, mindset, and motivation necessary to fit in at your company and make it grow.
Image source: Marketoonist