The three tips to help innovative CMOs make the case to be CEO

Psychometric scales show that marketers make good CEOs but there are some pitfalls they need to beware, says Jo Renea, executive director at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

Marketing Magazine | April 14, 2016

Marketing Magazine published an bylined article by Russell Reynolds Associates' Jo Renea on "The three tips to help innovative CMOs make the case to be CEO." The piece looks at Russell Reynolds Associates' psychometric data which shows that marketers possess a number of personality traits that would make them good CEOs. The article is excerpted below.

With a fifth (21 per cent) of all FTSE 100 heads coming from a marketing or sales background, there’s definitely potential for CMOs aspiring to land the top job. And there’s good news: our recent comparison of CMOs to other C-suite executives on 60 psychometric scales revealed that marketing executives tend to possess a number of personality traits that make them suitable candidates for the CEO role.

The research revealed CMOs have an innovative, pioneering spirit – they act unconventionally, test limits and are not beholden to structures – and use their strong social orientation and persuasive tactics to operate in an active and productive fashion.

CMOs aiming for the top role should harness these traits. For instance, CMOs are 49 per cent more imaginative than other executives, and should use this to infuse creativity into all aspects of a business.

A people person

The fact that CMOs are also 22 per cent more likely than other executives to adapt to different audiences means they are better equipped to promote the importance of the customer experience. Consumers now demand targeted messages, delivered across multiple platforms, at a time and place of their choosing, which is certainly something that CMOs are well placed to provide. CMOs are also adept at building relationships with employees at all levels in organisations, partly as a result of being 30 per cent more outgoing than other executives.

However, CMOs are 34 per cent more likely to test limits than other executives. Those aiming for the top role should be conscious of the fact that trying to introduce more imaginative and innovative ways of working could upset peers who are more risk averse (particularly CFOs) and so need to present robust business cases for change.

To read the full article, click here.

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The three tips to help innovative CMOs make the case to be CEO