an exhibition booth at a trade show

The role of marketers is changing – more than just driving brand engagement, they must stand for growth as well. Source: Shutterstock

Are CGOs taking CMOs’ rice bowls?

CONSUMER behaviors are rapidly changing. Companies that want to capture the market and grow their business must understand their target customers.

Enter the Chief Growth Officer (CGO). A relatively new position in the market, it’s fast becoming a favorite among companies for driving business growth.

The existence of CGOs can feel like a threat to Chief Marketing Officers (CMO), whose role is traditionally to drive revenue growth. On the contrary, this could be an opportunity for ambitious CMOs to thrive.

As the acronym suggests, the CGO is responsible for enabling business growth and encouraging sustainable development.

While achieving growth targets should ideally be the focus of all members of the executive team, the burden typically falls on the CMO in the absence of a CGO. This is because marketers are the ones overseeing end-to-end customer experiences, which in turn have a direct effect on business performances.

For a CMO, this means having to not only ensure smooth marketing operations, but also being strongly involved in sales and customer services. Not to mention keeping up with the latest trends and innovations, which is crucial for adapting to the ever-changing customer expectations.

Although both CMOs and CGOs share very similar skillsets and goals, there are remits of a CGO that might be neglected by existing marketing executives. Having said that, CMOs are primed to take on the role of CGOs, with the right tools.

Regardless of the what the acronyms represent, executives who are tasked with driving growth not only need to be creative, but also be intelligent about how they use data.

CMOs and CGOs need to be capable of delivering the best brand experience to customers, while also translating that into operational outcome for businesses.

It’s not possible for an executive to know how to do everything. Thus, it is important to engage with the right partners or advisors who can help executives make sense of the data. Successful growth drivers would be able to determine how marketing metrics relate to business results.

CMOs or CGOs must take advantage of marketing automation and big data, by establishing a data analytics infrastructure. This will give a holistic view of the successes and failures of particular outreach efforts, allowing executives to identify areas of growth opportunities.

Bringing this all together, CMOs or CGOs must be able to share the results with other C-suites to demonstrate how marketing efforts are aligning with business goals.

Today, many companies have introduced a CGO role, including Colgate-Palmolive, Mondelez, Hershey’s, Kellogg’s, PayPal, etc.

However, as Accenture’s report shows, many of these executives were previously CMOs, justifying that marketers are well positioned to become growth drivers. For example, Kellogg’s current CGO used to be the CMO for Kimberly-Clark.

Historically, the role of marketing executives has always been changing. Marketing strategies are no longer designed to fit corporate messaging; rather, corporate identity is largely shaped by customers.

Moving forward, marketers must bring those two qualities together. The ability to understand intrinsically and capitalize on the relationship between customer behaviors and business growth, is indispensable for the success of a business.