Kip Knight on where CMOs are failing

A 2021 study by Boathouse found that whilst 86% of CEOs believe CMOs have the power to influence key decisions of the C-Suite, only 32% of CEOs trust them. In theory, CEOs recognize the role marketing executives can play. In practice, marketing leaders are failing to live up to the expectation.

This shocking reality is reflected in the volatility of CMO tenure. In 2021, average CMO tenure clocked in at 40 months. The average CEO tenure was over double this at 85 months. 80% of CEOs believe this short tenure is due to the failings of CMOs. Moreover, there is also a lack of trust at the manager, director, and VP level. External CMO hires increased from 37% in 2020 to 45% in 2021.

Where CMOs are going wrong

In the latest episode of the Marketing Masters podcast, we speak with Kip Knight, the founder of CMO Coaches. Kip shares his insights on this systemic issue and explores how marketing leaders can rebuild their business relationships.

Kip argues that the role of any great marketing or business leader is to find the balance between developing your business and developing your team. However, he finds there to be a lack of alignment between marketing leaders and other business stakeholders. For an industry that prides itself on understanding its audience, this is a huge problem.

Through some brilliant examples and analogies Kip has picked up in his extensive career, including from his time as CMO at Taco Bell, he explains the importance of educating yourself and your peers; stepping out of your comfort zone into non-marketing roles; and learning to speak the language of business.

Kip’s advice is a must-listen for any marketing manager, director, VP, or CMO looking to step into executive leadership or built better business stakeholder relationships.

Timestamps

0:26 – Introduction to Kip Knight

1:14 – What makes a great marketing leader?

2:09 – Why is the average CMO average tenure so low?

3:59 – What is the most important step CMOs can take to rebuild their relationships with the C-Suite?

5.59 – What did you learn from the CFO about their point of view?

7:01- What practical steps do you have for marketing leaders looking to learn the language of business?

9:45 – Why should CMOs become generalists rather than specialists?

12:34 – What one tip would you give to more junior marketeers looking to improve their accessibility to C-Suite positions?

14:16 – What are the implications for digital marketing if business relationships aren’t improved?

16.13 – What are your thoughts on the ‘fractional CMO’?

18.33 – Do you see marketing becoming fragmented across different company divisions?


Kip Knight is the Operating Partner at Thomvest Ventures and is the founder of CMO Coaches. Over the past 40 years, he has worked in over 60 countries  in a variety of marketing and general management roles, including GM of North Latin America, as well as head of marketing for KFC International.  Kip also served as Chief Marketing Officer for Taco Bell.

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