CMO Club Poll: CMOs Remain Closest to CEOs, But CFOs Need Attention

Posted by: David Kiley on September 7, 2009

By now, we all know that the job of chief marketing officer has become one of the most perishable at companies. Tenure is only around 23 months these days.

One of the ways in which CMOs have bene trying to solve this is by improving relationships with key c-suite executives from day-one.

For the most recent Brand New Day/CMO Club poll question we asked CMOs:

Who do you have the closest relationship with in your company?

The results were not surprising. Two-thirds said the CEO. But the poll also showed an opportunity. Only 4% said their closest relationship was with the CFO. One of the reasons CMO is so short is that C-suite execs don’t see the return-on-investment of the CMO’s activities. Stands to reason that if CMOs were better at creating allies with the CFO and finance staff, tenures might be longer.


106 CMOs responded:

67% CEO/President
23% Head of Sales
6% COO
4% CFO
0% CIO


A few Quotes from CMOs in the club who responded:

“Absolutely my CEO. He is the only one who truly understands my mission and expertise”

“My first reaction was CEO, but then I started wondering if he would agree with my perspective”

“My CEO brought me in and knows what I can do.”

“I’m closest with my VP sales. She and I drive the company growth and are looked to by CEO for just that.”

“I’m spending more time with my CFO these days but we come at it from such a different perspective in some ways we are further apart in our relationship than when he started.”

“CEO, no question. He drives the ship and my rapport with him is critical for the success of our customer engagement


About The CMO Club: The CMO Club’s mission is to provide an exclusive peer to peer Chief Marketing Officer network that enables CMOs to help each other become better at what they do. CMOs in a non-selling “give to get” club with CMOs only dinners, online network and conferences.

Reader Comments

Paul Marobella

September 7, 2009 5:23 PM

Somehow, I think this is not a mutually-felt feeling with CEO's. If we asked them the same question, I'd bet that most would say the CFO and then the Head of HR.

Kevin Clancy

September 8, 2009 6:51 PM

It's a good topic to raise, David.

With all the air time "increasing accountability" has gotten the past several years, you'd think marketers would have gotten closer to the finance guys. How else to know what CFOs need and want to be able to talk intelligently to stockholders, etc., about returns on marketing?

But clearly this hasn't really happened. We actually just had an article on this very topic on MarketingProfs: http://www.marketingprofs.com/9/jump-start-marketing-accountability-give-cmo-cfo-something-better-in-common-clancy-krieg.asp?adref=znnpbsc4489

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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