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Why Are 6 in 10 CMOs Spending Time on Methods That Don't Work?

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

Disruptive Growth. That is at the heart of a recently-released report from Accenture entitled The C-level Disruptive Growth Opportunity. The 6 in 10 stat I referenced in the title comes directly from this report but before I get to that, I want to share some of other findings from this report. 

The one takeaway that jumped off the screen at me when I read it was "Chief Executive Officers say that although around five C-level executives are responsible for driving disruptive business growth, the majority (37%) hold CMOs first in the firing line if growth targets are not met. 

The title of Accenture's press release on the report was much more blunt: CMOs First in the Firing Line If Business Growth Targets Are Not Met, Accenture Strategy Study Finds.

What Exactly is Disruptive Growth?

Well my definition would have something to do with implementing and executing on marketing strategies that not only disrupt the status quo but also provide ROI - significant ROI. In other words, don't disrupt just for the sake of disruption. 

Accenture defines it as "driving the disruptive growth agenda and generating new value for the business." They cite the following examples:

  • Developing ecosystems with non- traditional players
  • Launching platforms that elevate current products into expanded service models for customers

Ok so now you know what the term means.

But there is a strange dichotomy at play here. 

According to the study four out of 10 CMOs view disruptive growth as important, while another three in four say they have either “total” or a “great deal of control” of their firm’s digital levers, which are the critical enablers for disruptive growth.

On one hand you have 40% of CMOs saying disruptive growth is important yet on the other there's the 75% who say they have total control of the parts of a brand that leads to disruptive growth. 

What gives?

Oh yeah on the 3rd hand you have their CEOs holding the figurative Sword of Damocles over their head saying they will be the first to go if growth targets are not met. 

6 in 10 CMOs Spending Time on Methods That Don't Work

As head scratching as the above results of this report are, the one that really got me searching for the nearest wall to bang my head against was this one.

Yes I focused on the 60% number but in actuality ALL three of these findings are quite startling and telling at the same time and I think they are all connected. 

Think about it. 

If you are spending a bulk of your time on the same old, same old traditional methods of marketing how can you possibly consider yourself to be innovative? You can't. 

My theory is that a great number of CMOs are either reluctant or resistant to change and/or are ignorant to what martech platforms and capabilities and options and on and on are out there. They hear about this brand doing this or that brand doing that and it sounds cutting edge but when push comes to shove they keep the status quo - they do not disrupt.

And if they do not disrupt within their own house, their own marketing department, how can they possible expect to disrupt outwardly, to achieve the ROI growth their CEO is looking for?

The answer of course is, they can't.

Start With the CX

The CMO needs to the Customer Experience thought leader in their company. Period. There really is no discussion anymore. As customer expectations continue to rise, businesses need to appoint a senior executive like the Chief Marketing Officer to deliver exceptional, end-to-end customer experiences. It’s a tall order, but if done right, enhanced customer experiences translate into loyalty, repeat business, and revenue.

Download Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience? to learn how to create a basic blueprint to embark on a discussion about customer experience and how best to lead this key strategic initiative in your organization.

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