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 sixth 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.

During this unprecedented year of upheaval and change from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re also keen to celebrate the achievements and hard work of marketers who’ve helped their organisations pivot and navigate their way through the crisis and the rapidly changing consumer behaviours and expectations it’s presented all of us.

Through this, we again hope to meet our ultimate objective, which 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. Because we also know, in a world of ‘new normals’, those prized modern marketing skills - agility, innovation and customer centricity – will be key as brands face fresh challenges to stay relevant and grow.

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, this year’s 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, bold and agile thinking
  • Resiliency and adaptability in the face of change
  • Demonstration of marketing’s commercial thinking and effectiveness

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 2020 judges list includes:

  • John Batistich, former director of marketing, Scentre Group (Westfield)
  • Andrew Baxter, former chair of Publicis and senior advisor to KPMG's Customer, Brand & Marketing Advisory business
  • Chris Howatson, CEO, CHE Proximity Australia
  • David Morgan, brand consultant and former CMO of Nestle
  • Michele Phillips, partner, 100 Percent Partners
  • David Scribner, former chief customer officer, oOh!Media
  • Teresa Sperti, former World Vision CMO, board director and founder of Arktic Fox
  • Michele Teague, former CMO Kmart, board director
  • Georgina Williams, board director, former CMO
  • Lisa Winn, building business strategies and innovative solutions
  • Mike Zeederberg, managing director, Zuni

Judges are asked to read all completed submissions and judge each on key areas: Demonstrating innovation and bold thinking; demonstrating data and/or a technology-driven approach; demonstrating strategic performance and commercial acumen; and demonstrating adaptability and resiliency. 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. Applicants need to have been in the position detailed in their application for at six of the past 12 months (up to June 2020) in order to be eligible for consideration. In addition, as part of the program and at the discretion of our judging panel, we highlight a number of new or recently installed CMOs as ‘ones to watch’ each year.

Nominations are due to be submitted by no later than Friday 14 August 2020.

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 2020 CMO50 will be revealed in CMO magazine in October 2020, 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.

We’re delighted to confirm this year’s list will also culminate in an exclusive dinner event to celebrate the achievements of the CMO50 on 14 October. The exclusive, invite-only occasion 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.