How gaps & holes in marketing teams impact business performance

by | Apr 6, 2021 | Marketing, Public Relations

An overwhelming 86 percent of senior marketers believe lack of leadership depth and capabilities has resulted in missed revenue, growth and customer acquisition opportunities, reveals new research from the CMO Council. Over half of marketing leaders surveyed worldwide concede they are struggling to effectively execute multi-channel campaigns on both a global and local level.

The group’s new study, Scaling the Value of the CMO, uncovers gaps, holes and deficiencies across key functional areas in the office of the CMO. Underscoring the problem, a surprising one third of senior marketers surveyed in early 2021 admit lack of resources, capabilities and effective leadership in key functional areas “consistently” impair performance of their team; over half concede this is an “intermittent” problem.

Leadership challenges

A large number of CMOs (43 percent) admit that it is “very difficult, time consuming and always challenging” to find experienced, proficient and knowledgeable functional leaders and direct reports; a further 40 percent acknowledge that it is “moderately difficult.”

“Most senior marketers say they are challenged by the time it takes to properly recruit and onboard senior functional leaders on their team,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, in a news release.

How gaps & holes in marketing teams impact business performance

According to Neale-May, more than half of survey respondents say the process takes three to six months and another 15 percent indicate this can take more than six months. “There’s no doubt the office of the CMO could be quickly and effectively fortified with fractional or interim marketing leaders hired on-demand,” he added.

To this end, the CMO Council is partnering with Chief Outsiders, which manages a large, fractional resource group of CMOs with expertise across industries, functional areas and geographies, to offer its members on-demand outsourcing of senior marketing talent on a contract or interim basis. The CMO Council has 16,000 members in 10,000 companies across more than 110 countries worldwide. Members collectively control nearly $1 trillion of annual marketing spend.

How gaps & holes in marketing teams impact business performance

Success with interim leaders

Findings from the latest Council survey, reveal an overwhelming 93 percent of chief marketers say they have had a “very positive, quite good or favorable” experience using interim marketing leaders. Not one reported a “poor” relationship and only five percent stated it was inconsistent.

While respondents say sourcing permanent employee talent is complex and time-consuming, only about a third of chief marketers have retained experienced contractors or part-time staff at the director and above level. Despite leadership gaps and holes, a surprising 41 percent of chief marketers report they have not used contractors, while 25 percent say they are assessing this option or plan to do so in 2021.

The research highlights the five main benefits of using fractional or interim marketing leaders. This included:

  • Fast ramp up and time-to-performance
  • Proven performers and doers
  • Range of competencies and capabilities
  • Domain expertise or knowledge
  • Added value thinking and leadership depth

“Clearly, CMOs are challenged to fill critical leadership roles, particularly when it comes to using digital marketing technology and actionable data to improve go-to-market strategy, customer targeting, conversion, and ongoing engagement,” said Art Saxby, CEO, co-founder and principal of Chief Outsiders, in the release. “It is gratifying to see that over 90 percent of those surveyed said they had realized a very positive or favorable experience using interim marketing leaders in their enterprise.”

How gaps & holes in marketing teams impact business performance

Top five areas where chief marketing officers see gaps, holes and deficiencies in their marketing leadership structures:

  • Customer journey, acquisition and conversion
  • Segmentation and personalized messaging at scale
  • Actioning on customer data insight
  • Demand generation and pipeline
  • Campaign execution and measurement

Download the full report here.

The report is based off of a survey conducted in Q1 2021 of 150 senior marketing executives.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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