CMOs Ramp Up Business and Technology Acumen in 2014

Results of 2014 Heidrick & Struggles/Forrester Research Study

  • C-suite relationships vital to CMOs' success.
  • CMOs eyeing the COO or CEO role as their next career move.

CHICAGO, March 4, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Chief Marketing Officers are stepping up their game in 2014 to prove their value as true business leaders. According to the latest Heidrick & Struggles (Nasdaq:HSII) and Forrester Research Inc. (Nasdaq:FORR) joint study, nearly 60% of surveyed CMOs are working to grow their influence in general business strategy and are commanding an influential seat within the C-suite.

More than half of the CMOs surveyed identify C-suite relationships as vital to success, with three-quarters of that group pointing to the head of sales as the most important relationship.

CMOs' aspirations are also on the move. "In the past five years we've seen many more CMOs aspiring to the COO or CEO role as their next career move. As customer dynamics continue to shift and consumers take even greater purchasing control, marketing executives are in an excellent position to take the helm," said John Abele, Managing Partner, Marketing, Sales & Strategy practice, Heidrick & Struggles. "The data shows in order to reach these senior leadership positions, CMOs will have to focus on building cross-functional leadership experience and building trust and influence across the organization."

Creating A Single View Of The Customer

To drive their status forward as a business leader, CMOs recognize the need for deeper data solutions and customer insights. But getting answers won't be easy. While 73% of CMOs agree on the importance of having a single view of the customer, fewer than 20% of companies have achieved this goal.

Translating "Big Data" Hype into Action

What's causing this dichotomy? For one, many CMOs are still hindered by the absence of quality in customer data collected. More than half of CMOs say they rarely or never use big data to make marketing decisions, and lack access to technology systems that would allow for a single view of the customer.

Technology Management & The CMO/CIO Relationship

To alleviate these challenges, forward-thinking marketers are turning to technology to deliver effective customer engagement. This means CMOs must embrace their relationship with the CIO. More than half of marketers now view this relationship as essential, up from 30% in 2011, with 41% sharing a common vision with their CIO of how marketing and technology teams should work together. But evolved CMOs won't stop there. Leading marketers will continue to push the envelope. In fact, more than half of the CMOs surveyed point to identifying and building awareness of new technology as the number one competency to improve in 2014.

"In the Age of the Customer, newly empowered consumers are in the driver's seat. So, a customer obsession is the most important strategic imperative for the CMO," said Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Sheryl Pattek. "As a result, the key for marketers in 2014 will be ramping up effective technology across the marketing organization to create actionable data-driven insights. Those who don't lead this charge will risk getting left far behind."

About The Survey

This study is produced by Forrester Research and Heidrick & Struggles and uses data based on a survey of 212 B2B and B2C CMOs, fielded in July 2013. Access a complimentary copy of the research report, 'The Evolved CMO In 2014.'

About Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc.

Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (Nasdaq:HSII) is the premier provider of senior-level Executive Search, Culture Shaping and Leadership Consulting services. For 60 years, we have focused on quality service and built strong leadership teams through our relationships with clients and individuals worldwide. Today, Heidrick & Struggles' leadership experts operate from principal business centers in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information about Heidrick & Struggles, please visit

About Forrester Research

Forrester Research (Nasdaq:FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client segments. Our clients face progressively complex business and technology decisions every day. To help them understand, strategize, and act upon opportunities brought by change, Forrester provides proprietary research, consumer and business data, custom consulting, events and online communities, and peer-to-peer executive programs. We guide leaders in business technology, marketing and strategy, and the technology industry through independent fact-based insight, ensuring their business success today and tomorrow. For more information, visit



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