Why your Board of Directors should include a CMO

At The CMO Syndicate, we are all about growth. So we wonder why there aren't more CMOs on Boards of for-profit companies when it's the executive level marketing leader who the CEO holds accountable for revenue growth, which begets increased shareholder value. For-profit Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder value, so why aren't more CMOs on Boards?

Recruiting and consulting firms AccentureDeloitteKPMG US focused on executive level marketing roles have been terrific at noting the challenges of the CMO job in the C-suite, how absent CMOs are on most Boards, and how infrequently Management engages the CMO in regular Board discussions.  A Spencer Stuart study estimates that <1% of sitting Fortune 1000 Board members have deep marketing expertise. So why are respected iconic board leadership groups like NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) rarely talking about bringing CMO expertise onto the Board?

Here are a few of our favorite nuggets that should stop you in your tracks - taken from Kimberly A. Whitler's et al research on this topic (link in comments below), a must-read if you are a #CEO or Nom/Gov Committee Chair looking to form or reshape your Board. If you want to grow and stay well-grounded about changes in your competitive space and customer landscape, get the Voice of Customer represented on your board! A CMO on your Board can help you obtain and maintain a growth focus.

1. “To drive growth, a firm must prioritize growth in its objectives, and it is the Board – not the top management team – that sets these goals…”
2. Marketing is THE primary interface between the firm and the customer and the primary driver of demand generation.
3. Boards are typically dominated by deep expertise in operations, accounting, finance, legal – all inwardly focused functions, whereas Marketing/Sales functions are outwardly focused.

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