Happy 2022! Here are 9 trends I predict we’ll be talking about lots in 2022, when it comes to the CMO role and recruiting CMOs.
1. The tight CMO hiring market continues. ICYMI, here’s my recent dispatch of all the unique stuff I’ve been seeing in the talent market As companies are looking to scale up, they often want the ‘been there, done that’ talent that has scaled up by the same amount and wants to do it again. But many execs are ungettable since they are happily growing and scaling somewhere else, and watching the value of their equity tick up. The good news for CEOs is that some marketing leaders have recently mis-stepped in taking on new roles (I sometimes call these ‘Covid jobs’) and are gettable sooner than you would think…. even after just a few months at a new company. And… the good thing about someone who rues the role they just took is that they tend to be much better at sussing out the cultural match next time.
2. Speaking of culture, it will be among the first things CMO candidates want to discuss, not the last. CMOs are looking more closely at culture than ever before. I predict more of them will gain better vocabularies and sensing skills to help them vet whether they can add to a company’s culture.
3. CMOs are increasingly the Chief Market Officer. Roles that “put the market back into marketing” are ascendant. I facilitated a conversation with a group of chief marketers last week. We talked about how marketing leaders often struggle to balance execution with strategy setting and category building. One CMO pointed out that the word ‘marketing’ ends in ‘ing’ which means, of course, executing. A CMO inhabiting the ‘Chief Market Officer’ role needs the breathing room to focus on the market and not just the marketing. CEOs are starting to realize that their CMO can deliver a lot more than quarter by quarter campaigns and pipeline.
4. We see the rise of the role of a ‘COO of Marketing reporting to the CMO. Many CMOs will hire a sort of COO of Marketing to focus on flawless market-ING execution, freeing up the CMO to focus on market dynamics and strategy setting.
5. Industry-specific CMOs have an edge. There is continued demand for industry-specific experience in CMOs, as marketing continues its evolution from sales supporter to strategy setter.
6. CMOs spend more time interlocking with CHROs. Marketing leaders will apply their marketing skills to help their HR counterparts to brand the company and attract talent in a tight market. Marketers will lend their insight on employment branding, DEI initiatives, internal communications, and candidate journey mapping.
7. The bar for ‘test and learn’ gets higher, as CMOs will be expected to inject discomfort and experimentation into the org, all while not jeopardizing successful growth. It’s one thing to experiment when you’re starting out. Or when you’re finding your way out of a strategic pickle. It’s quite a different thing to experiment successfully when your business is doubling year on year, capturing share, expanding to new markets, and delighting your investors. I recently talked with a CMO of a fast-growing company about this. She asks her team, “How can we double doing better?” (Keep an eye and ear out for an episode on this topic on The Get podcast, coming out soon!)
8. Marketers who rise above the “brand versus demand” debate will have their pick of roles. This is not a surprise. Often when I start a search, we think about whether we want the marketing leader who is more focused on brand/messaging, or more focused on performance/demand. Of course, often the ideal is ‘both.’ Now, companies are realizing that performance marketing can only take them so far, especially in the face of stringent data privacy regulations. So marketing leaders who have cross-trained in both brand and demand will get their pick of jobs.
9. More CMOs will graduate into GM/COO/CEO roles: I’m seeing more and more CMOs ascend into COO or CEO roles. Good for them! But that can make it harder to convince a ‘been there done that’ CMO to do another marketing leadership role. Consider mapping out how your marketing leadership role will evolve. Tell the story of how your CMO could contribute not just within marketing but across the business.