- CMO vs CGO: Does Your Business Need a Chief Growth Officer?
- What the Heck is a Chief Growth Officer?
- CGO vs CMO
- Should You Adopt a CGO Yourself?
- The Problem of Executive Authority
- Complements to the Chief
- Moving Up: From a Sales to a Chief Marketing Officer
- Understanding The Challenge
- To Begin, Sign Up For Certifications
- Create Your Own Great Blog
- Show employers why you are suitable
- If You d This We Think You'll ..
CMO vs CGO: Does Your Business Need a Chief Growth Officer?
Over the last few years, the corporate world has seen new C-level titles popping up as the business world is experiencing rapid change. A new Chief _________ Officer title seems to emerge every few months. Some of those executive trends have had staying power, while many more faded into obscurity and irrelevance.
The CGO seems to be one of the positions that has gathered and maintained momentum–a LinkedIn search alone for people with this title already yields 4,600 results. That understandably leaves business leaders wondering whether they should be considering a Chief Growth Officer executive search themselves.
What the Heck is a Chief Growth Officer?
The exact role of a Chief Growth Officer is amorphous; the position has only recently begun experiencing meaningful adoption across business, and its responsibilities vary broadly from organization to organization.
Even now, you’ll struggle to find a universally agreed-upon job description or definition for the CGO.
At its most basic level, the Chief Growth Officer is responsible for the establishment and acceleration of current business growth and paving the way for sustained future development.
But wait–isn’t there already someone with that job?
If the above definition sounds familiar, that’s because it probably is. This has been the job of the modern Chief Marketing Officer for years now.
Sure, the reach of the Chief Growth Officers typically extends beyond the Marketing department into R&D, Customer Service, Analytics, and more.
Some are even put in charge of Sales, though asking someone to effectively oversee both Sales and Marketing will stretch even the most capable executives to their absolute limit.
But ultimately, they will have the same core mission and purpose as most existing Chief Marketers.
Which of course begs the question: If the CMO is already in charge of driving business growth, why does a business need a CGO at all?
CGO vs CMO
In March, Coca-Cola shook up the marketing world by announcing that it would be letting its current Global CMO go, removing the position, and “Combining Global Marketing, Customer and Commercial Leadership, and Strategy into one combined function under the leadership of a new Chief Growth Officer to drive growth across five strategic beverage categories.”
The move by Coke was a big one, but not the first of its kind. Many other big brands and businesses have been adding CGO positions instead of or in addition to existing Chief Marketers; especially big names in consumer packaged goods Mondelēz, Tyson Foods, and Kellogg. But CGOs aren’t just for CPG: PayPal, Best Buy, DigitasLBi and many more employ one.
What gives? It’s not as if these companies didn’t have elaborate marketing infrastructure and leadership designed to drive growth already. Why add on a new role?
Whether or not the adoption of a CGO will help Coke sell more beverages remains to be seen.
But it’s clear that the world’s most recognizable brand, along with many other organizations, was in some way unsatisfied with the amount of the growth being driven by their current team and organizational structure. And they’ve turned to a new leadership and organizational strategy to kickstart growth and get them back on track.
Should You Adopt a CGO Yourself?
So, is it time to ditch your Head of Marketing and engage a Chief Growth Officer executive search firm? Not so fast.
If you’re experiencing stagnation or decline in your organization, consider that it might not be with your senior leadership positions, but the talent that’s currently occupying them.
A lot is demanded of today’s marketing leaders. They’re expected to be customer conduits, innovation factories, digital geniuses, cultural prophets, technology masters, sales enablers, and more. And it’s not enough for CMOs to get the Marketing team running smoothly and up-to-date–they must also bring the entire organization along with them in order to drive success.
It’s hard to keep up, and many senior marketing execs who were in their professional prime even just two or three years ago will have already fallen behind the cutting edge.
A Chief Growth Officer executive search may indeed be the missing piece needed to accelerate growth in your business. But before you consider replacing your CMO position, consider whether it’s the role, or the professional in it, that’s letting you down on your growth goals.
Instead of overhauling your entire org chart, you may find that you’re just a relatively straightforward CMO executive search away from getting back on the path to growth.
The Problem of Executive Authority
I mentioned above that CMO success (and by extension, business growth) can’t be achieved by optimizing Marketing alone–the rest of the organization has to be brought along.
Unfortunately, that’s extremely difficult–especially in a world where too many other business leaders still see Marketing as just the “make things pretty department.” Even when CMOs see the right path forward, they are often unable to act with the needed authority to implement new policies and make changes.
…before you consider replacing your CMO position, consider whether it’s the role, or the professional in it, that’s letting you down…
Sometimes this is an ingrained structural problem.
Internal politics, territorial executive peers reluctant to cooperate, or a vast, entrenched bureaucracy can stand in the way of even the most clever and qualified marketing heads.
In instances this, a new Chief Growth Officer position created with authority over customer-facing aspects of the business can be effective in cutting through red tape and wrangling control of the mess.
Other times this is, again, a talent problem. The senior marketer is simply unable to display the leadership, relationship and planning skills needed to push, pull, entice the organization into the needed change.
How does the CMO effectively manage change at a pace the organization can digest it and move the business forward at a pace that meets growth goals? When the problem is executive gravitas, rather than the job itself, you’ll ly be better off with a Chief Marketing Officer executive search instead of hiring a CGO.
Complements to the Chief
CGOs can be especially valuable to a business when the CEO lacks a background in customer experience, communication, and engagement.
Consider; about one-third of Fortune 100 Chief Executives reached that point through a finance career; eventually moving from CFO to CEO.
Those individuals no doubt have many strengths and can make great CEOs. But they ly lack direct experience truly interacting with customers, evaluating the marketplace, or innovating products. So it is critical for them to build a team around them that fills in with the best experience.
In cases this, a Chief Growth Officer executive search may be the perfect way to bring a much-needed complimentary perspective to a CEO who is more familiar with balance sheets than customer experience.
Moving Up: From a Sales to a Chief Marketing Officer
Sales used to be all about cold calling and pushing to close deals. The focus has shifted now, however. Modern sales methodologies are about new techniques such as consultative sales. To sales professionals who find themselves in the middle of such an evolution, there is often a desire to move sales, and into a field such as marketing.
Understanding The Challenge
Sales and marketing responsibilities have a lot in common. Both jobs require excellent communication skills, an ability to understand what the buyer needs, a meticulous and logical mind and problem-solving abilities. For this reason, switching careers is not very difficult.
A number of sales skills can translate into the marketing field. The ability to understand the needs of the buyer and to put the buyer on the path to making a decision, skills in communication, skills in interviewing and conversing with clients, expertise at engaging clients with email, and the ability to keep the goal in mind at all times, are among them.
Sales is different from marketing as well, in some ways.
For instance, while sales professionals constantly focus on selling, marketing professionals are usually required to focus on creating a better buying experience rather than on selling aggressively.
Taking points from CMO resume samples, here are some few things to prepare when shifting from being just a salesperson to the Chief Marketing Officer.
To Begin, Sign Up For Certifications
Since marketers use many tools, it’s important to begin by signing up to learn about them. A Guide to Marketing Certifications posted by Business.com clearly put up how marketing certificates can advance your career.
Certification courses are common, and offered by services such as Google and Hubspot. Courses such as email marketing certification, contextual marketing certification, inbound marketing certification and analytics certification are all important. All you need to do is to choose the course that seems most relevant to your needs and talents, and then sign up.
It’s also possible to gain knowledge of marketing tools and technologies through open courses, webinars, online classrooms, and so on.
Many marketing teams suffer from a big data skill shortage. Anyone coming in with data skills is ly to be an asset. Learning about data analytics is an excellent idea for anyone planning a shift. Other skills to learn are in the areas of SEO, copy, data analytics, AdWords, and conversion analysis.
Create Your Own Great Blog
One in two marketers believe that content creation is their most important priority in inbound marketing. Putting your own high-quality content on a blog is a great start to proving that you have the skills needed. You can try new optimizations and tests, keep records and use them when you write your resume one day.
It’s important to remember that while creating a blog is a good idea, it’s something that every marketing professional does when they try to get hired. It also compliments well with your resume. To set yourself apart from the rest, you need to rank the blog well on Google, and build a subscriber list. It can take a great deal of skill to do it.
Show employers why you are suitable
Employers want to see why a sales professional is suitable for employment in marketing especially in a higher position. It’s important to show them that you have different qualities — that you’re a lifelong learner, that you have the ability to take interviews and come up with actionable ideas. Remember, a Chief marketing officer is:
- A team player.
- Customers come first.
- Good in communication.
- Knows data and analytics.
Making the transition from sales to marketing can be challenging in the beginning, but it is doable. It only takes an ability to focus on learning the skills needed.
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