CEOs Now Have a More Favourable Opinion of Their CMOs, Study Finds

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

The relationship between CEOs and their marketing teams is sometimes fraught. But new research shows it is improving.

Do chief executive officers trust their chief marketing officers to deliver? Do they understand or believe in marketing? It seems an age-old debate that runs parallel to the discussion around marketing’s place in the boardroom.

Photo by Cytonn Photography from Pexels

A regular study released last week in the US, titled ‘CEO Survey on Marketing and the CMO’, indicates that CEOs’ perceptions of CMO performance and marketing is shifting to a more favourable one. 


For example, compared to the 2021 study, nearly double the number of CEOs rated their marketing and CMO ‘best in class’. 


The study polled 150 CEOs from public and private companies across 17 industries in the United States. It is published by Boathouse, a Boston-based marketing agency. 


Among the key findings: 


Increased loyalty. CEOs’ perception of CMO loyalty is growing: eight in 10 CEOs perceive CMOs would ‘take a bullet for them’, up significantly from only three in 10 in 2021. 


Board dynamics. CEOs said that 77% of CMOs understood the company’s board and political dynamic, up from previous surveys. 


Marketing’s capability. Almost half of CEOs (49%) rated their marketing team’s capability ‘best in class’, up from 20% in 2021. CEO respondents rated 40% of CMOs as ‘best in class’. 


CMOs’ short tenure. Half of CEOs now believe a CMO’s frequently short tenure is a sign of success in the role rather than failure, up from 20% in previous surveys. 


Artificial intelligence. More than half of CEOs (58%) say their CMOs have made AI presentations, asked for funding for AI, or created new processes using AI. 


Advice to CMOs in light of the study 


“I was happy to see the turnaround with CMO perception because we’ve had a couple [of] years of more middle-of-the-road, negative results. And to see the bounce-back is really encouraging,” says Boathouse CEO, John Connors, in an interview with the website Chief Marketer. 


He adds that CMOs should spend more time tracking the issues and audiences that are most important to their CEO. 


“CMOs don’t think twice about doing research around the consumer. But they don’t do that much research on their own C-suite, sometimes,” Connors observes. 


“Be a little more disciplined about tracking the audiences and the issues that are most relevant to the CEO, and don’t walk in and always say ‘it’s all about the consumer’. Because if you do that, and the consumer’s not at the top of the CEO’s list right now, you become less credible.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.