Bridging the Gaps Between Marketing and the C-Suite

A new research report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) argues that several serious “disconnects” exist between Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and other senior company leaders (CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, etc.). Outside looking in: the CMO struggles to get in sync with the C-suite is based on a global survey of marketing and non-marketing executives from 19 industries in 42 countries, and on in-depth interviews with senior executives from major companies.

The EIU report shows that a significant gap exists between CMOs and the rest of the C-suite regarding marketing’s strategic priorities. EIU asked survey participants to identify marketing’s top priority. The filelink:file0 below shows how both CMOs and non-marketing executives responded

These results indicate that the greatest gaps between CMOs and other members of the C-suite exist around the issues of revenue growth and creating new products and services. Equally important and perhaps more disturbing, none of the priorities identified in the EIU survey captured anything close to a majority of responses, which indicates that there isn’t widespread consensus about marketing’s primary role.

The EIU study also found a significant gap regarding the ability to measure marketing performance. Half of the CMOs in the survey believe that marketing can measure the value of marketing investments across different functions and channels, but fewer than 40% of non-marketing members of the C-suite believe that marketing actually has this capability.

Other disconnects revealed by the EIU survey include:


  • Who benefits from marketing – CMOs believe that marketing delivers substantial benefits to product development, followed by customer service, and then sales. Non-marketing executives see sales as the primary beneficiary of marketing activities and programs.
  • Marketing performance – Fifty-five percent of CMOs believe their marketing investments outperformed those of their peers, but only 41% of non-marketing executives agree.
  • Voice of the customer – More than 25% of CMOs believe they are the voice of the customer in their company, but only 13% of other C-suite executives view the CMO in this role.


Whether or not the results of the EIU survey can be generalized, they suggest that CMOs and other members of the C-suite need to better define the roles and responsibilities of marketing.


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Author:Jan Dejosse

CMO - ADAM Software

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