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Research reveals growing disconnect between CMOs and teams

By The Drum Network, Staff Writer

November 19, 2019 | 4 min read

The Economist Group today published new research, 'Wanted: CMOs with 2020 Vision', that reveals a growing disconnect between CMOs’ vision for the marketing function, compared to their C-suite counterparts, and even their own marketing teams.

One area highlighted by the research is the disparity around the importance of brand purpose. Whilst CMOs consistently talk about the need for brands to have a larger mission, this is not shared by others. 43% of CMOs considered brand purpose a key strategic priority compared to just 25% of the C-suite and 19% of non-CMO marketers.

2020 vision cmos

Executives from across the globe were surveyed for the new report, which details their thoughts concerning the marketing function, its purpose, influence and future. The full whitepaper can be downloaded at:

Topline findings reveal that within the C-suite:

  • 63% of CMOs consider the key strategic focus of marketing to be short-term (1-2 years), compared to 54% of their C-suite colleagues
  • The C-suite want marketing to deliver greater focus on customer experience and engagement yet CMOs consider it only fourth on their list of priorities
  • 71% of C-suite marketers complain of a ‘lack of board-level understanding of the marketing function’s contribution to business performance’. Only 40% of the rest of the C-suite agree
  • 43% of CMOs felt that company culture and purpose is a key strategic priority, but only 25% of the C-suite felt the same

Within marketing teams:

  • While the C-suite look for long-term thinking, a majority 68% of non-CMO marketers view the strategic focus of the marketing department as short-term (1-2 years) and only 23% are considering a mid-term focus (5-6 years)
  • 47% of CMOs believe marketing has a significant influence on strategic priorities, but only 26% of non-CMO marketers agree
  • 55% of CMOs believe marketing has an influence on business performance and growth but only 29% of their teams agree

43% of those CMOs consider brand purpose a key priority, yet only 19% of the rest of their marketing department does

“If there’s one thing that’s clear from this research, it’s that despite their best efforts, marketers may be missing the mark when it comes to communicating with their colleagues - both inside and outside the marketing department. Almost 20% of the C-suite do not believe marketing is key to their organisation meeting its strategic objectives. Hopefully this report, together with the tips outlined throughout, will trigger some thoughts that will help teams tackle the challenges,” says Nicolas Sennegon, executive vice president, global chief commercial officer.

CMOs research Economist

The Economist Group intends for this research to empower marketers with these unique insights into their peers and team, and offers a range of advice and tips to counteract the growing divide. The report features suggested tips for multiple audiences, including:

  • CMOs looking to influence the C-Suite
  • Marketing Directors Looking to Become CMOs
  • The Board: How to Understand Your CMO
  • Marketers

To download the full whitepaper, Wanted: CMOs with 20/20 Vision, click here.


In order to better understand the changing role of the marketing function and CMO within the business, The Economist Group conducted a global survey among executives from both marketing and non-marketing roles. The 15-minute survey was conducted online in July – August 2019 among 1,080 respondents representing a range of countries and industries.

The survey has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points at 95% confidence level.

To arrange an interview or to find out more about The Economist Group’s research please contact: OR +44 (0)7533115249


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