Egon Zehnder: The CMO, architect of consumer centricity

Michael Meier
By Thomas Barta
Last updated: July 26, 2012

As the voice of the consumer in the executive suite, today’s CMO must drive customer orientation and innovation, build bridges and bring skills.

Few experts know CMOs and their companies better than executive search consultants specialized in marketing. These experts can align the expectations and skill sets of both sides during the search for customers. Dr. Michael Meier, consultant with Egon Zehnder, and his colleague Dick Patton take a look at the future role for CMOs. They identify three roles which tomorrow’s CMOs will have to adopt:

  • Driving force for more customer orientation. As a strategist liaising between the customer and the management or Board, a CMO supports and speeds up the alignment of what markets and consumers expect with corporate strategy.
  • Bridge-builder and innovation driver. As the link between the critical consumer and value creation within the company, Marketing is increasingly viewed as the driver of both profit and growth.
  • Skilled operator in the digital future. A study based on anonymized data from management appraisals conducted by Egon Zehnder International shows that the competencies in which top CMOs excel compared to their less successful colleagues are results orientation and change management.

Meier and Patton conclude: “In sum, the CMO of the future will be a media-wise change agent who blends a comprehensive range of competencies with personal authority. As a strategically minded mediator, he or she listens to and understands what markets and consumers expect and brings corporate strategy into line with these expectations.