CMOs' image issues in the C-suite

Chief marketing officers at manufacturing companies have an image problem.

While 58% of manufacturing CMOs say they're good at delivering customer insights that drive business, only 43% of other C-level executives agree.

Another 28% say CMOs are not good at it.

These are the findings of a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by business analytics firm SAS.

Around 78% of manufacturing CMOs profess a clear understanding of their customers' needs, but just 47% of their executive peers agree. Another 63% of manufacturing CMOs claim their companies use mobile technology to effectively connect with customers while only 33% of peers say the same. Another 33% actively disagree that mobility use is effective.

Among executives surveyed, 18% of CMOs claim to be "excellent" at establishing a clear business case for new marketing investments; another 38% said they are good at it.

But, only a third of C-suite responders say CMOs are good at this, and 28% say CMOs are lacking in this area.

55% of surveyed CMOs - but only 30% of other executives - say the performance of their company's marketing investments was ahead of peers in the past year.

Manufacturing CMOs are seen as unable to address customer needs with a satisfying customer experience.

"Establishing appropriate metrics to track the return on marketing investments is critical for manufacturing CMOs," Stephen DeBrincat, SAS director of manufacturing solutions, said.

"For example, manufacturers spend more on advertising than any other industry. Yet they can't report what this spending is getting them," he added.

The report is a follow-up to a former EIU report, titled Outside Looking In: The CMO struggles to get in sync with the C-suite, released last year.

The report stated there exists a genuine divide in the vision of many organisations, namely between the CMO and the rest of the C-suite over the value marketing provides to the business.

For non-marketing executives (CEOs, CFOs, CIOs) driving revenue is key wherereas it ranks third for CMOs, whose top priorities are new product development and customer acquisition, the study highlighted.

There is also a differing of opinion between CMOs and other C-suite executives on the most accurate metrics to best track return on marketing investment.

As a marketing-decision maker, do you agree with the findings? Why/Why not? Write to me at to share your views.