Six things CEOs value most from marketers

CEO's need marketers they can rely on more than ever, but it's up to marketers to make themselves more valuable. CEO Simon Corah reveals six key factors CEOs look for.


Long-term sustainable growth is becoming increasingly elusive in most economies where low growth has become the new normal.

Despite this, growth still remains the imperative of all CEOs. In fact you may be surprised to know that it is marketers who CEOs look to to drive their growth agenda.

In this rapidly changing and disrupting world, CEOs are looking to the marketers to understand and interpret the trends that are going on now and the impact they will have on the future of the business.

Increasingly this knowledge becomes the backbone of their growth strategies.

Confident Businesswoman At Conference Table --Portrait of a confident businesswoman sitting at conference tableCEOs now expect marketers to interpret and utilise the enormous amount of data and analytics available to track every interaction with customers and provide genuine insight, not only their behaviour today, but into where they are going in the future.

Marketers are in the best position to determine a picture of the future customer and establish the best strategies to reach it. The last shackles of the ‘colouring-in department’ have finally been shaken off.

Based on what we’re seeing in business, both here and globally, we have clearly entered the ‘customer era’. For those brands that use the data at their disposal to determine truly customer-centric strategies that they can operationalise deep into their business, the future looks bright.

And it is marketers who have the most critical seat at the table to drive this.

During the course of putting together our presentation for Mumbrella360, we asked some of Australia’s top business leaders – including Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Carnival Australia Chairman Ann Sherry – very pointedly what marketers need to do to both advance the organisation and their career.

woman and business plan concept

According to the CEOs we spoke to who spanned across a broad range of industries, all expressed a strong desire and need to see their marketing teams initiating and navigating the future and path for growth. Six key themes emerged that CEOs most value from marketers:

  1. The world is changing and disrupting faster than any time in history. No industry is immune. Business models are under threat. By understanding and interpreting trends, CEOs look to marketing to continuously paint a picture of the future and the ‘So what’ for the company. An eye on the future is no longer a nice to have. It is key to survival.
  2. Growth is the focus for CEOs and they are looking to marketers to provide exceptional customer analytics and insight – big data and deep data – to help form the who, what, why, how and when. They see marketers more closely aligned to the CIO or CTO than ever before and being able to interpret and utilise bigdata and own these insights will be vital for marketing to be an effective discipline for growth.digital marketing grid matrix - ThinkstockPhotos-480048064
  3. CEOs expect marketers to be leading the company in understanding the digital environment. The world is now digital and brands need to be at the forefront of this societal transition. Digital is no longer a department that works alongside the business, it needs to be core to everything the CEO does in engaging, retaining and attracting customers.
  4. Marketers will continue to be viewed as the ‘colouring-in department’ if they don’t drive real, measurable results that assists their organisation in driving growth – particularly through new customer acquisition and share of wallet growth. Eyeballs don’t matter nearly as much as generating revenue and CEOs want marketers to act and respond accordingly.Close Up Of Businessman's Hand Analysing Graph On Digital Tablet
  5. Marketers who are ‘creative’ need to get more analytical and ‘analytical’ marketers need to get more creative – it is critical that the CMO in today’s world is a hybrid of both.
  6. CMOs need to understand every bit of the organisation. Their role is to create demand and ensure they understand the impact this has on the rest of the organisation. This will require playing an influential role in informing and driving the customer agenda through the entire organisation.

Simon Corah is the CEO of Growth Mantra.

Simon and Jess Gill from Growth Mantra will be presenting a bespoke short film for Mumbrella360 in which they interview 12 of the country’s leading CEOs on where marketing can add most value.


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