CMO Tenure or Transformation? – A Silicon Valley Chapter Dinner Roundtable

With the consumer having more control than ever, obstacles are popping up in CMO positions that have been creating turmoil. This is most apparent in the tech industry where a whopping 51% of CMOs have been in their positions for less than 2 years. With all this disruption happening it is more important than ever for CMOs to make a lasting first impression. The first 100 days are crucial.

During a dinner On April 30th our Silicon Valley Chapter participated in a problem solving roundtable led by Kathleen Schaub, CMO Advisory Service at IDC and Andy Cunningham, CMO of Avaya about “CMO Tenure or Transformation” and the kind of impression CMOs need to make during the first 100 days in their new position. Here are the key takeaways from their important roundtable.

  1. Prove you are worthy – take advantage of your newness to build a brand and emotionally connect with the people in your company so there is more fluidity.
  2. Find what’s broken and start to fix it so you can show a tangible difference right away.
  3. Become highly aligned with sales – always bring data to back up your goals. You can’t out sell the sales department, but you can out data them.
  4. Find a way to report to your CEO so that he/she understands your goals and make sure you have the data to back up your strategies. Building trust with your CEO during this initial period will prove invaluable later on.
  5. Learn what success looks like in the eyes of your CEO so you can get them what they need and then have more freedom to focus on other initiatives.

For CMOs to succeed they need to encompass certain qualities that will help them stay on track. Dinner attendees agreed on the following important qualities:

  • Be Brave
  • Take Risks
  • Be Agile
  • Always Be Ready
  • Be Aggressive
  • Move Forward

One thing is apparent, the turbulence is not going to end, and things will continue to be difficult and fast changing. CMOs need to be prepared to spend the first 100 days in their new role exceeding all expectations. In the midst of all the ups and downs of the CMO position be the straight line. Don’t add to the turbulence.