- The average tenure for CMOs is 43 months, with CMOs more likely to move up and out of positions between 30 and 45 months, according to a report by Winmo provided to Marketing Dive. CMO tenure is less than half that of a CEO, which averages 7.2 years compared to a CMO's 3.6 years.
- Traditional categories, like financial services and travel, average longer CMO tenure at 48 months, or 17% above the median. Newer segments, like digital business providers, fall at 27% below the median at 29 months.
- Women represent nearly 42% of CMOs, compared to 12% of CFOs, 9% of CIOs and just 4% of CEOs. Female CMO tenure is 37.5 months, five months shorter than the average, while male tenure is 42.8 months. Digital business providers represent the most gender parity.
As the marketing industry grows increasingly digital, the demands and expectations of CMOs continue to evolve. CMOs are now required to focus on being customer-centric and data-driven while offering personalized strategies. They are also being called on more to prove ROI on campaigns. CEOs are expecting CMOs to be a "magic bullet" that can revive sales, grow market share and inspire customers, according to the Winmo report. These many, varied demands are often impossible for CMOs to meet, leading to short tenures.
While shorter than that of CEOs, the average CMO tenure of 43 months signals that CMO retention is holding steady. Research from Spencer Stuart released last year showed that the average tenure for CMOs was 42 months, or 3.5 years, in 2016, and 44 months in 2015. The report also cited disruptive technologies, business headwinds and evolving consumer habits as reasons for the shrinking CMO tenures.
The findings suggest that CMOs will have to adapt to hold onto their positions. Most marketers realize that traditional experiences are no longer enough to satisfy consumers, which is opening opportunities for CMOs to embrace the role of "CMO Collaborator" and look beyond typical brand advertising and communications, per an Accenture Interactive report. A "CMO Collaborator" is defined as a CMO who encourages teams to work across the company, fostering a culture of collaboration and ensuring that brand vision and customer experience align.
A key finding from the Winmo report is the near gender parity in the CMO role. While there are more male CMOs, the position is more gender equal than other C-suite roles. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) last year launched #SeeHer, a gender equality initiative, and providing advertisers with tools and data to make better gender equality decisions in campaigns.
An ANA survey revealed that 76% of its client-side members are women, while 45% of CMOs at ANA member companies are women. Men make up 55% of CMOs and 33% of ANA rank-and-file members. However, the survey showed that the industry has a ways to go in being more diverse. Among CMOs or CMO equivalents, 87% are white, 5% are either Hispanic or Asian and 3% are black.