When recruiting CMOs for investor-backed companies, Board members are often big stakeholders.


And they certainly are big stakeholders when it comes to whether CMOs STAY in their jobs.


But the CMO and Board relationship is often fraught.


Recently, I’ve been exploring how the CMO and Board relationship can go from fraught to functional to fantastic. Several marketing leaders and Board members have talked with me for my podcast, The Get.


Sharing with you here the executive summary of the key learnings on this topic:


In the final recap episode, we cover:

  • What Board members look for in CMOs
  • How the CMO and Board member interview can be most productive
  • How the best CMOs ace Board meetings
  • What conversations CMOs and Board members are likely to struggle with, over and over
  • How CMOs should navigate Boards that don’t get marketing as much as they think they do
  • Tips for CMOs who want to serve on Boards

Highlights – the most successful CMOs:

  • Replace intimidation with dialogue when it comes to the Board
  • Move from broadcasting to the Board to collaborating with the Board
  • Provide a “heads-up display” for future growth to the Board
  • Take on the role of translator: making sure marketing-speak is converted into business-speak
  • Master the art of talking with Boards about brand
  • Realize that some marketing terms will fly in Board meetings, and some will flop
  • Choose artfully among three options when dealing with Board members who don’t understand marketing: Teach, translate, or question
  • Invest in a strong relationship, inside and outside the Boardroom
  • Ask ‘What can my Board members do for marketing?’ and tap Board members for expertise, connections, perspective on the market, previews of Board decks, and appearances at customer events
  • Demonstrate an understanding of constrained resources
  • Align with the Board on Big V Value, not small v value (Big V value refers to how value gets created in the business and things that increase the overall value of the business, while small v value has to do with things like marketing campaign results or leads)

Here’s a screen grab from a recent presentation I did on this topic:

I have heard from many along the way that they have learned a lot from this series. Thanks for listening, and huge thanks to my guests this season!

The Get is produced by Evo Terra of Simpler Media Productions.