CMO tenure climbs to 48 months

Latest Spencer Stuart US study finds marketing chiefs in the technology sector have the longest average tenure

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The latest Spencer Stuart CMO tenure study has found marketing chiefs in the US are now staying in their jobs for 48 months on average.

The figure is double the first average recorded in the executive consulting firm’s first CMO tenure study in 2004, and is up from 45 months in 2013. The 11th annual tenure report was based on data from the top 100 advertised brands in the US.

“There is a lingering perception that CMO tenure is short, but the reality is the data shows long-term stability in the role,” said Greg Welch, consultant in Spencer Stuart’s Marketing Office Practice.

“While CMOs have some work to do to match CEO tenure [80 months], there is no question CEOs are confident in giving their CMOs the task of truly leading dramatic change within their organisations.”

Welch’s colleague and Marketing Officer Practice leader, Tom Seclow, attributed the longer tenure to better digital and analytics skills within the CMO ranks.

“The ability to create measurably successful marketing initiatives has given CMOs credibility across the organisation,” he said. “CMOs are now clearly the advocate for the customer insight the company.”

Spencer Stuart found tenure was longest in the technology sector at an average of 65 months, followed by financial services and industrial CMOs (63 months). The shortest tenure was in the automotive sector at 26 months.

Welch also noted the longer tenure has helped several CMOs move into larger general management roles over the past year.

In Australia, CEOs who have risen from the marketing ranks include Virgin Mobile’s David Scribner, Intel’s Kate Burleigh, Heat Group chief, Gillian Franklin, NRMA CEO, Tony Stuart and most recently new CEO of RedBalloon, Nick Baker.

In a recent interview with CMO, Hudson executive general manager, Dean Davison, said core skills for the modern CMO include business partnering and customer lifecycle management, along with a focus on revenue generation, strategy, digital and brand strategy.

Related: The top marketing and CMO skills in demand in 2015

“CMOs need to think holistically across the whole marketing space - especially everything digital. A fully integrated marketing approach across every channel is a must,” Firebrand Talent’s general manager for Melbourne, Alex Kenning, also told us.

And with dozens of new measurement and analytics tools coming to the market each month, CMOs also need to know what reporting tools to invest in, how to use them and most importantly, “know what insights and information to extract to ensure ROI is measured, maximised and communicated across the business,” Kenning added.

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