Judging process and criteria

The CMO50 annual list is aimed at recognising Australia’s 50 most innovative Chief Marketing Officers driving business impact within their organisation. This year’s list is brought to you by our exclusive sponsor, Adobe.

Now in its fourth year, this annual list recognises those leading the marketing function who are demonstrating innovative, strategic thinking, driving business change and commercial success, showcasing modern marketing leadership, and enabling greater collaboration and better customer engagement as a result.

Our ultimate objective is to shine a spotlight on the increased importance of Australian marketing leaders in business, as well as the role of modern CMOs in crafting future business growth and opportunity.

The CMO50 is only open to the top Australia-based marketer within an organisation with responsibility for the vision and strategy of the whole company marketing function. In order to be included in the judging process, marketers have to either self-nominate, or be nominated by a suitable peer, via a standardised submission form.

Specifically, the questionnaire is about showcasing:
  • Business contribution and innovation
  • A customer engagement-led approach to marketing thinking and effectiveness
  • The application of data and/or technology in marketing strategy and programs
  • Empowered and strategic thinking
  • An ability to effect change in the organisation
  • Demonstration of marketing’s commercial effectiveness
  • Resilience and agility

To ensure our CMO50 is as comprehensive and commendable as possible, we compiled a strong industry judging panel to determine the final 50 list. Our judging panel encompasses respected figures from different parts of the industry, including former marketing and brand leaders, agency and industry association representatives, along with creativity, leadership, innovation and data experts. All have extensive experience in marketing and its changing demands. We sincerely thank all of our judges for the time and effort they spend in helping produce this list.

The 2018 judges list includes:
  • Nick Baker, CEO of Outdoria and former CMO, Tourism Australia
  • John Batistich, former director of marketing, Scentre Group (Westfield)
  • Carmen Bekker, partner, KPMG CMO Advisory
  • Nadia Cameron, publisher and editor, CMO
  • Mark Harland, former EGM marketing, Holden Australia
  • Inese Kingsmill, former marketing chief of Virgin Australia
  • Mark Lollback, CEO, GroupM
  • Jane Merrick, former GM marketing and CX, Consumer Division, IAG
  • David Morgan, brand consultant and former CMO of Nestle
  • Georgina Williams, board director, former executive of engagement, advocacy and brand, AustralianSuper
  • Mike Zeederberg, managing director, Zuni

Judges are asked to read all completed submissions and judge each on these key areas: Demonstrating innovation; demonstrating data and/or a technology-driven approach; demonstrating strategic performance and commercial acumen; and demonstrating resilience and agility. Each of these four aspects are given a score, with the final combined score for each individual used as the basis for the list. Judges will meet in person to debate their scores and the final order of our CMO50 list.

As part of our submissions process, an invitation to nominate will be circulated to more than 300 of Australia’s top marketing leaders, identified by CMO’s editorial team as well as our judging panel. We also provide online links and calls to action on our website,, and CMO Digest newsletter.

While there was no minimum tenure set for marketers wanting to participate, a number of CMOs have previously chosen not to enter because they have been in their respective positions for less than 12 months.

Nominations are due to be submitted by Friday 3 August 2018.

Final selections are confirmed by our judging panel and are not open to further discussion or negotiation. All scores will be kept confidential and are not being released publicly, nor will they be discussed with any individual applicants.

The 2018 CMO50 will be revealed in CMO magazine in October 2018, as well as online, in our dedicated portal:

CMO50 is as annual initiative designed to recognise CMOs each year for their innovations and achievements at demonstrating marketing’s contribution to business success.

Following the success of our CMO50 dinner event in Sydney in 2017, we’re delighted to confirm this year’s list will also culminate in an exclusive event to celebrate the achievements of the CMO 50 on 18 October. The exclusive, invite-only event provides a valuable networking forum for Australia’s leading marketers.

We welcome constructive feedback on how we can further enhance this list in recognition of the industry.