How to Help Your CMO Survive and Thrive

Chief marketing officers are perishing at a fast pace. Headlines such as “The Most Dangerous Job in Business” and “The Disposable CMO” are flooding the news.

“A SpencerStuart study found the average CMO tenure is 45 months.”

Starbucks replaced their marketing head five times in seven years; Coca-Cola replaced theirs four times in six years. Recently, a SpencerStuart study found the average CMO tenure is 45 months, which is an improvement over 23 months in 2006, but it’s still only half as long as chief executives.

Why is this happening? One reason is because marketing is increasingly complicated  and dynamic, subject to perpetual change. An article in the July-August issue of The Harvard Business Review stated, “Tools and strategies that were cutting edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.” Growing volumes of data from more sources needs to be validated and analyzed. New marketing communications and distribution channels must be mastered. Plus the CEO, along with the entire organization, expects to see metrics and results almost immediately.

CEOs can help these marketing department casualties be avoided through the following steps.

Matthew Sawyer is Managing Partner of Rocket Market Development LLC, which helps small and medium-sized businesses find new paths to revenue. He also is an Adjunct Professor teaching business strategy at Parsons, The New School for Design.