“Unifier” CMOs Beat “Friends,” “Loners”

Marketing is on the cusp of greatness, says McKinsey in a new study. The availability of data now allows marketers to measure the results of their activities and to understand more about customers than ever before.

And that has caught the eye of the C-suite, which is beginning to see just how critical marketing is to the organization. A full 83% of CEOs believe marketing can be a major driver of growth. But there’s still a large gap between that expectation and today’s reality. Only 50% of CEOs say marketing currently delivers on growth.

To understand how the best CMOs are closing that gap, McKinsey studied C-level attitudes globally and identified three CMO profiles: Unifiers, Loners, and Friends.

Unlike Loners and Friends, Unifiers are strong builders of rapport across the firm, engaging in a set of approaches that make them more effective leaders of their agendas and more successful in driving growth. A Unifer is:

• A skilled collaborator

• Clear and compelling about marketing’s role

• Able to inhabit the mindset of other C-level executives and speak their language

• Accountable to the team, and expects accountability in return

In turn, Unifiers are more likely to be accepted by the C-suite, enjoy longer tenures, and are more protected (budget, headcount) in downturns. For those willing and able to assume the Unifier role, “there has never been a better time to be a CMO.”