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The transformative CMO: Three must-have competencies to meet the growing demands placed on marketing leaders

As organizations strive to set themselves apart from competitors, marketing has taken on new prominence throughout the business process. The days when marketing simply built brands, created above-the-line programs, and targeted customers are over. Now marketing—and more specifically the office of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)—is transforming how business is done. As a result, today’s top-flight and aspiring CMOs need new competencies to thrive in this expanded role.

CMOs must move well beyond the longstanding role as “the voice of the customer” to provide strategic leadership, drive change, and achieve quantifiable business results. Today they are tasked with not only ownership of the brand, but also with development of overarching business strategies. For example, one $4 billion retailer recently charged its new CMO with a 360-degree effort to rethink everything related to customer needs: products, operations, supply chains, store locations, and how the company communicated internally and to customers. All the while, CEOs and corporate boards are scrutinizing marketing activities with unprecedented analytical intensity.

In short, the mandate for today’s CMOs is nothing less than fundamental business transformation. “Marketing is increasingly intertwined with all other functions in the company. CMOs need strong leadership skills to influence across the organization, cross functionally, and geographically,”