How CMOs Can Meaningfully Impact the World Beyond Their Organizations (And Why)

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What a Marketing Executive Search Firm Looks for in Influential Leaders

Today’s CMO is tasked with being responsible for business growth more than ever. They must be the voice of the customer, digitally-savvy, innovative, a great leader, and an effective change agent across their entire organization – all while driving revenue. Marketing leaders have to represent and communicate a brand’s purpose and mission internally and externally. All of this arms them to successfully lead digital transformation with a customer-focused mindset and provide unparalleled customer experiences.

The CMO role is the most challenging and steadily evolving position in the C-suite, which respectively allows them to hold more power than ever before. However, the influence they are capable of goes far beyond their corporate accountability as a CMO.

The ability to influence and make an impact will always sit at the core of marketing’s mission. The most influential leaders do more than help business grow. They drive change outside of the company, not just within. They are industry thought leaders, mentors, and provide valuable insights on a wide range of business topics.

In any marketing executive search, we identify the most successful leaders who leverage their wide range of skills and business acumen to make a difference beyond the goals of their organization. Here’s how current and aspiring CMOs can build a voice and reputation that leaves a meaningful impact on marketing and the world outside of their departments.

Related Video: How Great Leaders Inspire Action | Simon Sinek

Video by TED

Your Influence Reaches Far Beyond Business Goals

Are you exceeding expectations as the head of marketing and hitting your revenue targets? Is your company growing and profitable? These are the goals you have to focus on under your role as a CMO, where you have to give 110% to succeed. However, marketing leaders who have meaningful influence are those who are successful both internally within their organization and externally.

As someone who’s gotten to the level of a CMO, you’re fully capable of being influential inside and outside the scope of your business. And you should continuously challenge yourself to be both.

As an experienced CMO executive search firm, we know marketing leaders are extremely busy. Too often, we see senior executives – not just marketers – get so focused on what they need to do to exceed their corporate responsibilities that they lose sight of what’s going on in the outside world.

On top of your responsibilities as a CMO, you have a personal life to take care of. How can you successfully take on more and contribute to the greater good in the world where you’re super busy?

Get Active and Involved

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Any marketing executive search firm knows that CMOs should already be going above and beyond to mentor their team and help them grow. In order to gain a wider perspective on the world and have a broader influence, it’s important to get involved outside of your organization.

The ways you can give back to the marketing community and society are endless. Get involved with marketing organizations like the American Marketing Association to help lead a future group of marketers. Consider being a guest speaker to a college course filled with aspiring marketers. Mentor an at-risk child in a lower-income school area. Be a part of a non-profit organization that gives back to the community.

Are you involved in a peer group? As the head of marketing, who do you talk to for advice and to bounce ideas off of? Chances are that you report to somebody who’s not a marketer and the people who report to you aren’t experienced enough. That’s why joining groups and communities that will help you grow professionally is important. The CMO Club and Evanta, a Gartner Company, are great communities for CMOs to join. Getting actively involved in a peer group where you can openly share ideas that will help you learn will prove to be incredibly valuable.

The Most Important Trait of All

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Certain traits of marketing leaders help successfully position them at the core of influence and power. However, there’s one particular trait that most successful CMOs possess, the one that Directors and marketers in VP roles who want to climb up to the C-suite should acknowledge.

Along with being a forward thinker, innovative, collaborative, persuasive, empathetic, and agile, the one key trait that sets apart subpar CMOs from incredible ones is passion. Leaders who have a passion for what they’re doing and who have a passion for helping others are the ones who find the most success in their personal and professional lives. Whether you’re a CMO or just starting your marketing career, it’s important to get the most out of every opportunity you have and to push forward with purpose.

At the CMO level, going above and beyond isn’t just about your organization or professional success; it’s about the greater good, the community, and how you can add value both in and outside of your company. By giving back and doing so passionately, you’ll gain a different and more valuable outlook on life.


As a CMO, you should strive to be the best person and leader you can possibly be. Marketing leaders with goals of making an impact on their organizations and influencing society are in a special position to change the world.

Don’t underestimate the power you have in your company, community, and the world. Becoming the type of leader that really wants to do good for the sake of doing well [and with integrity] enables you to win in your career in the long run.

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