You have to feel for the Brazilian soccer team. The weight of expectancy upon the team is unprecedented.
The five-time champions of the "Beautiful Game" are playing a World Cup at home for the first time in 64 years. Not only is their squad one of the weakest they’ve fielded in recent memory, but the tournament's $11 billion price tag has brought protestors onto Brazilian streets. Only a win in the final will pacify the fans and keep the naysayers at bay. And then on the eve of the tournament, the boss--the Brazilian team’s coach--proclaimed: "For all Brazilians, I want to say our time has arrived. This is our World Cup.”
I’m sure his anxiety-ridden team appreciated that publicly stated perspective. Publicly stated or no, the theme of leaders’ expectations--more specifically, CEOs’ expectations of their chief marketers--is one we explored in a wide-ranging study conducted by Stein IAS with the support of the Chief Executive Group.
We plainly asked more than 300 CEOs: Is your CMO living up to expectations? Where are they performing, and where are they not? How much do you value marketing? Where can marketing really add value to the business?
The research was released and presented by Tom Stein at last month’s Business Marketing Association Global Conference in Chicago, and is available here. To whet your appetite, I’ve summarized a few of the top-line findings below:
• 81% of CEOs surveyed say the importance of marketing has increased in recent years--and the same percentage say their expectations of marketing have gone up as well.
• 67% say they are more involved in setting marketing strategy than in previous years.
• 71% are more involved with thought leadership than in previous years.
• 85% say agility and responsiveness are the most important attributes for marketing, but only 53% are satisfied with their marketing leadership in this area.
• 82% rank customer expertise--knowing what customers want before they do--among marketing’s most important attributes, but only 49% are satisfied in this area.
Those last two bullets hint at some troubling disconnects unearthed by the research. Dig a little deeper into the report, and a more troubling fact comes to light: CEOs and CMOs don’t appear to see eye to eye on the big game-changing areas of our professional discipline. Things like data, analytics, and technology-enabled marketing are low on the chief executive’s radar, while they rank high on most modern marketers’ hit lists.
The CEO’s general point of view is that the CMO should think and act like the CEO does--focused on the big-ticket items, such as business alignment, innovation, collaboration, market intelligence, and creativity. As Tom Stein, my own CEO, said at this year’s BMA conference: “The desire among CEOs for marketing to assert leadership at the most strategic level is palpable.”
Take a look at this brief, thought-provoking research and tell us your thoughts via the hashtag: #ThinklikeaCEO. By the time next month’s World Cup final rolls around, we’ll bring you a roundup of your own thinking, here on CMO.com.