If you’re thinking about a career in marketing, or if you’re currently working as a marketing executive, it’s important to know that the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is constantly changing. According to executive-search firm Spencer Stuart, the average CMO tenure in 2020 and 2021 was around 40 months—the lowest in more than a decade. Some companies are turning to fractional, aka temporary, CMOs as a result.

So, what does this mean for current and prospective CMOs? How can you remain competitive in an ever-changing landscape? While some factors may vary, experts and CMOs across various industries agree on three key points: staying flexible, always learning, and being prepared to lead.

Staying Flexible
“Marketing is probably the most challenging role to recruit for on an executive team because there are a lot of layers to it,” Maryanne Martire, partner at executive recruiting firm Daversa Partners, told us. “You can be incredibly successful building a narrative for a business one day and then 12 months later, the company has shifted and they want someone who’s going to be very sales- or revenue-driven.”

To meet the demands of ever-changing company goals and expectations, CMOs need to be flexible in their approach. They need to be able to quickly adapt their strategies and tactics to fit the needs of the moment. This might mean being comfortable with making radical changes or scrapping plans altogether and starting from scratch. Whatever the situation calls for, CMOs need to be ready and willing to adjust on the fly.

Always Learning
In order to stay ahead of the curve, CMOs need to continuously learn and develop their skillset. With technology and data playing an increasingly important role in marketing, it’s more important than ever for CMOs to keep up with the latest trends and developments. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help with this – from online courses and webinars to industry news sources and professional networks. Staying informed will help CMOs identify new opportunities and optimize their strategies for maximum impact.

Being Prepared to Lead
As companies place more emphasis on marketing’s ability to generate revenue and drive growth, CMOs need to be prepared to step up and take on a leadership role within their organization. This means having a deep understanding of not only marketing but also finance, data analytics, operations, and other key areas of business. It also requires being able to effectively communicate with senior executives from other departments and align marketing initiatives with wider company goals. Equipped with these skills, CMOs will be well-positioned to lead their teams through whatever challenges lie ahead.

The role of the Chief Marketing Officer is constantly changing – that much is clear. But what isn’t so clear is what exactly this means for current and prospective CMOs. To stay ahead of the curve, experts recommend staying flexible, always learning, and being prepared to lead. By keeping these three points in mind, you’ll be well-positioned to navigate the ever-changing landscape of marketing and come out on top.

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