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Intelligence Briefs

CMOs need a universal long-term growth metric

Industry Contributor

Angela Smith, Co-Creator and Chief Strategy Officer

14 October 2019 2min read

Securing investment for long-term strategy is the number one challenge for every other CMO, according to a recent global study involving 1,000 CMOs across the US, China, Japan, Australia, and Europe (DAN CMO Survey 2019).


Key points:

  • For the second year running, the annual survey found securing long-term investment was the most cited challenge, increasing from 45 per cent in 2018
  • When asked how far ahead CMOs were planning, the average reported timeframe for a marketing strategy is 2.5 years
  • For every category, marketing strategies were all less than three years with the exception of automotive
  • The next highest cited challenge was “Inability to transform the business quick enough” [46 per cent] followed by “Lack of integration across all elements of the customer experience” [41 per cent].

My Takeout

If this study reflects a wider reality, is it any wonder that the rhetoric of short-termism is reaching deafening levels? The study doesn’t provide answers as to why convincing the board to back long-term thinking has become such an uphill battle for today’s CMO. 

Plenty has been written about the future of the CMO of late with Coca-Cola loudly leading the discourse as they ditch the CMO for CGO. A switching out of acronyms may need a much deeper transformation though.

Too much of marketing is measured too often, too soon. There’s a large enough body of knowledge, none the least the work of Binet and Field, to show ruin lies down that road. To mitigate the thirst for quick results, perhaps it’s a matter of marketers and their C-suite colleagues speaking the same language.

If there ever was a real need for CMOs, it’s arguably right now.  As effective strategic thinkers, communicators and storytellers, our most senior marketers are in a unique position to connect and align all the relevant decision makers in their organisation. 

To redress the addiction to short term measures, CMOs must work toward a universal language to convincingly build business cases that support long-term thinking that spans all channels across the organisation. Their vernacular must be based on a system of universal metrics to measure the ongoing effect of advertising, CX and the resulting growth of brand for commercial outcomes.

Without the establishment of agreed measurement standards that align with profit and loss, the marketing discipline will continue to erode its own value. It will be the marketers that are able to bridge the language gap that will thrive and help redefine the role of the CMO.

One thing is for sure, the relative importance and nature of marketing, as a function within the corporate ecosystem will continue to be a hot topic of debate for 2020.

Let’s go. What do you think?

Industry Contributor

Angela Smith, Co-Creator and Chief Strategy Officer

Angela Smith is co-creator and Chief Strategy Officer of AFFINITY, and amongst many things is responsible for championing effectiveness through all aspects of the agency, especially in nurturing the talent and professional development of the team.
An author of 14 Effie winning papers as well as a gold IPA, she’s 100% committed to delivering highly creative but always powerfully effective outcomes and hopes to help foster a golden age for the discipline of marketing. A qualified lawyer, once-upon-a-time research scientist and mum of two boys, Angela relishes the diversity of thinking she’s lucky enough to encounter in any given day.
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