The evolution of digital has completely transformed the way we look at marketing and when deployed properly, digital has allowed marketing a bigger seat at the table through better measurement and attribution.

As marketing has evolved, so has the role of the CMO. It has significantly transformed over the past few years, and has been directly impacted by the pace of change in marketing. However, most organizations are still using an outdated definition and an outdated organizational structure.

As a digital marketing executive search firm, we know CMOs who acquire the skills, capabilities and experience to meet the demanding expectations of their role will be critical to the success of their organizations. Sometimes this means they have to learn new things, more often it means they need to know what talent to add and how to lead them.

Digital Marketing Executive Search Firm Shares What CEOs Should Expect from Today’s CMO

Here are six key things CEOs must ensure their CMOs can accomplish to successfully lead their organization in today’s digital world.

Adding a Marketing Technologist to the Team

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The disruption of technology is undeniable in the marketing space. As a digital talent agency who spends all day finding the right marketing talent to support such changes, we know most organizations still have an outdated marketing org structure.

From Starbucks to Dominos, organizations are doing amazing things with technology focused on improving the customer journey and experience. But why are they the outliers?

Bottom line, either you have someone on your team in charge of marketing technology, including app development or you are falling behind. Who on your marketing team is leading the charge on key digital trends like AI, mobile experience, and automation? Unsurprisingly, we’ve been seeing more CMOs hire technology experts to take on the vital functions of managing the implementation and operations of martech solutions.

Understanding the New Customer Journey

Digital is becoming the center of everything. Organizations are measuring marketing and interactions with customers and consumers in ways they never have before. As a result, they’re able to use insightful data to grow exponentially and focus more on their customer.

We live in a customer-centric world and as today’s consumer gains more power and their expectations become increasingly demanding, businesses must keep up to meet them. Fortunately, new technologies and sophisticated data analytics allow businesses to better meet consumers’ demands by getting a deeper understanding of their behaviors and preferences.

Understanding the new digital customer journey is key in managing and enhancing the customer experience. CMOs today must adapt to higher customer expectations. They must understand how much the journey has changed because of digital, and be able to lead their organization in meeting their expectations at every touchpoint. Ultimately, the marketing team must leverage available data to improve the journey and deliver a superior customer experience.

Ability to Drive Scalable ROI

Top 6 Things CEOs Should Expect from CMOs

When we conduct a marketing executive search, one of the first things we look for in CMOs is the ability to drive ROI and demonstrate accurate attribution.

Attribution is complex, evolving and far from an exact science, and it is also incredibly important that your company is getting better at it every day. Top CMOs understand the value of each touchpoint in the customer journey and how to leverage them for maximum value.

Close Collaboration Between the CMO and CTO

As technology continues to have a significant impact on marketing and its processes, it has become necessary for CMOs to work closely with the Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) of their organizations.

To truly leverage technology, your CMO must have a strong understanding of the tech options and solutions available for your business to truly push the entire organization toward innovation. And there’s no one better to provide such insights than the CTO. Most importantly, how can we integrate technology systems, so marketing, sales and IT are all working together and senior management is getting real-time reporting.

By working with the CTOs, CMOs can better identify the types of technologies available to invest in smarter martech and can strategically employ these tools to take marketing to a whole new level. This allows the marketing team to better leverage data that can be turned into actionable insights, and ultimately drive better engagement with consumers.

Marketing teams that find success in a data-driven world will need to establish close alliances with the IT department. However, it isn’t possible without being led by C-level execs. The CMO and CTO must plan how technologies are implemented and used, and must guide their teams in working together to ensure key martech solutions are properly maintained.

Thirst for Continuous Learning

In addition to building high-performing teams, CMOs must also evolve alongside the developments in marketing. They must continue to learn and adapt, and lead their team by example. This allows them to hold their team members accountable for their own continuous learning.

The scope of the CMO role has become increasingly demanding. And while it opens up many new opportunities, it also creates the pressures of having to keep up and adapt to constant changes. Leaders who are able to keep up and continuously learn new skills are top candidates as we go out for a marketing executive search. Leaders whose skills have become outdated are going to end up working for companies who do not value marketing.

Leading CMOs must be digitally driven and technology-savvy, adapt to dynamic changes with agility, and lead their teams by often making real-time decisions. It’s not enough to have strong leadership skills and a solid understanding of digital marketing strategy; making impactful real-time decisions requires an in-depth understanding of digital inside out, along with big-picture marketing strategy and high-level business acumen.

Building a Culture through True Leadership

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Today’s top CMO must be accountable, agile, and able to demonstrate exemplary leadership. Leaders must not only own everything marketing, but take on complete responsibility in leading their teams toward achieving sustainable bottom-line growth. Additionally, they need to be humble and willing to lead people who are doing things they never had to do on their way up.

Collaboration in the C-suite and between departments is key in thriving in today’s digital world. Your organization must integrate cross-functional collaboration to truly gain a competitive advantage. By breaking down the silos and encouraging collaboration between different departments, your company will see measurable growth as a whole.

As a digital talent agency, we know the impact the culture of an organization has on not only the employees, but the long-term growth of a business. With such a high demand in skilled marketing talent, it’s essential that C-level leaders, especially CMOs, continuously work toward improving their organizational culture, and today’s CEOs should expect it.

The right leadership and culture is what truly keeps top talent in an organization. Finding A-level talent is no easy task, and leaders will need to strategize how to attract and retain top marketers in a competitive market.


The CMO’s role is completely different today than it was just a few years ago, and it will change more in the next five years. The expectations of CMOs are more demanding than ever, which can create immense pressures to succeed in a world where the pace of change is accelerating.

As a digital marketing executive search firm, we realize that CEOs don’t always have the expertise to understand how to precisely craft the CMO’s role. That’s why it’s important for CMOs to take an active part in crafting their own role and setting realistic expectations for their own success as well as building realistic exceptions from their CEOs and organizations as a whole.

CMOs of today can take full control of their positions by staying ahead of the curve and keeping up with the developments that occur in the digital world. Marketing leaders will continue proving themselves to be more and more valuable players in the C-suite, if they are able to evolve and grow.