Forbes Insights boss: CMOs must focus on ‘hard’ not ‘soft’ KPIs

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 10.50.55 amBruce Rogers chief insights officer of US business giant Forbes Media has told a forum this morning that marketers must be focused and remunerated based on so-called “hard” metrics such as sales and revenue.

Speaking on day two of the ADMA Global Forum at the Hilton Hotel Rogers told the audience that it was those chief marketers who were working with key stakeholders such as the CFO who would have the most longevity in their roles.

“It’s not about brand measurement…  its not about how many likes likes, shares, or followers it’s about revenue. What does the CEO care about? That’s what they care about,” said Rogers. 

“If you are seen as a partner in that then that’s a high indicator of success.”

Rogers argued that it was those marketers who knew how to understand how to collaborate with their colleagues, draw insights out data analytics who would buck the trend and have a longer service in the role of CMO.

He cited Forbes research which showed that the average length of tenure of a chief marketer has almost doubled in the last ten years from 23.6 months in 2004 to 45 months in 2013.

“We all hope to do is to keep our jobs. Job security? It’s a little less than four years but it is a near doubling of the tenure in a pretty short about of time.

“Getting data right has been the key driver of that.”

Nic Christensen 


  1. I wonder
    30 Jul 14
    7:18 pm

  2. I think the success of any marketer is one who understands marketing isn’t just advertising. Most of the commentary on Mumbrella is about promotion (advertising); there’s little discussion about how the remaining marketing principles fit within the overall mix.

    If the CMO doesn’t understand revenue, gross profit, marginal profit, fixed and variable costs etc they’re not really the CMO they’re really just CPO – Chief Promotional Officer. Meanwhile the real strategy and execution is coming from somewhere else in the business.

  3. peter davis
    31 Jul 14
    8:57 am

  4. I agree with what Bruce says about understand how to collaborate with colleagues and drawing insights from data analytics, something many struggle with.

    And he may be right about it not being about brand measurement. Measurement, maybe not, that’s long and slow, but not about the brand. Surely not! Would Nike; McDonalds; Apple; Coke and even Forbes generate the revenue they do now if not for the investment they have made in the brand over a long period of time?

    I do not disagree with the sentiment behind what Bruce says, revenue and sales is everyone’s goal, but it’s this direction that can turn marketers into short term, sales focused departments, reaping the rewards of a brand but not replenishing it as they go. And the longer that goes on the smaller the harvest becomes.