Marketing's role is taking on the big issues

76% of CMOs believe they are aligned with their CEO’s agenda, but just 46% of CEOs agree according to a new study from McKinsey.

I suspect this is true at companies and firms of all sizes, not just the big firms McKinsey surveyed. Just because a firm has a partner in charge of “marketing” rather than a professional marketing director or CMO doesn’t change what I see in my work.

The problem starts with how marketers see their role. When McKinsey asked CMOs about their primary role, “some responded that they ‘ran the marketing organization’ or ‘led their companies’ advertising and brand campaigns.'” The more successful leaders described their primary role as “increasing company growth or better outreach to customers to improve performance.” The leaders see beyond their function, taking on the big issues and contributing to the company’s overall performance.

For successful CMOs, Marketing has a strategy role rather than merely a functional one. McKinsey sees their role as engaging the big issues. I’d go further and say they should be driving the big issues. Peter Drucker would certainly agree.

The full article tackles a lot more than my observations above.

McKinsey QuarterlyWhy Effective Leaders Must Manage Up Down and Sideways