Innovators Innovators Weigh in...

Top 10 Things You Need from Your CMO to Help You Succeed


One of the things we hear consistently from the CMOs we speak to is how important it is to empower their teams. Empower them to make decisions, make mistakes and feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work each day. But what else do we need from our CMOs? We asked our Innovators “what one thing do you need from your CMO to help you be successful?” and here’s a round-up of their top answers.

1. Trust

“Trust. In a world of immediate response and troves of data, culture does not change overnight, and sustainable brands are not built overnight. As brands look to be meaningful to people they must connect with culture. That takes nuance, instinct, bravery, and considering ideology, philosophy, and experience. And moving very quickly. There is not always the opportunity to declare the business case before taking action!” - read more from Jackie Jantos, former Vice President of Brand and Creative at Spotify and listen to Spotify's CMO on the CMO Moves podcast.

“Trust. You can’t move fast and do breakthrough work without it.” - read more from Tressie Lieberman, VP of Digital and Off-Premise at Chipotle and listen to Chipotle's CMO on the CMO Moves podcast.

“One of the things I value most from my CMO is trust. It’s my responsibility to earn and maintain that trust day-to-day, and I look to my CMO to stay open and curious about new partners and unexpected ideas.”- read more from Katrina Craigwell, Executive Director and Head of Marketing at Finn by Chase

2. Empathy

“Empathy. It’s a strong skill my CMO, Leslie Berland, exemplifies as both CMO and Head of People at Twitter. Last year in Forbes, Dr. Prudy Gourguechon framed it perfectly: “empathy enables you to know if the people you’re trying to reach are actually reached. It allows you to predict the effect your decisions and actions will have on core audiences and strategize accordingly. Without empathy, you can’t build a team or nurture a new generation of leaders.” - read more from Dennis Todisco, Global Head of Community at Niche/Twitter

3. Clear Vision

“I think goal-setting is very important. Whether it is an organization, team, or campaign-level goal, having a clear vision of what we want to achieve is a must.” - read more from Stephanie Urban, Executive Director, Digital Marketing & eCommerce at Tarte Cosmetics

“Most importantly a clear, inspiring vision for the team and the organization that we should all be driving towards.” - read more from Lindsey Belknap, Director of Brand Marketing at One Medical

4. Open Communication

“I love to have healthy discussions, sharing different POVs, challenging the thinking, taking risks and ultimately finding the best solutions for the business and the team.” - read more from Rosi Ajjam, SVP of Global Retail Hair at Coty… and don’t miss Rosi’s personal recipe for success in Women Trailblazers: Taking Care Of Your Team, Your Family, And Yourself

5. Affirmations

“…Affirmations are exceptionally important. Affirmations that my work is on the right track, or an affirmation that I’m way off. Either way, consistent open communication and feedback help me do my best work.” - read more from Kayla Glanville, Head of Growth at Hill City and listen to Hill City's Head of Marketing on the CMO Moves podcast.

6. The Freedom to Fail

“When you work with one of industry’s top marketing leaders like Seth Farbman, you don’t have to ask for much. It’s tough to pen this down to one thing but if I had to pick it would be the “freedom to fail” that Seth provides to all of us. That is the single most inspiring and motivating aspect of my role and what I get from my leadership.” - read more from Mayur Gupta, VP, Growth & Marketing at Spotify

7. Security to be Vulnerable

“Our CMO, Chris Bruzzo, creates an environment that allows me to be vulnerable on the job, which has been an important element in my growth over the past few years. It’s a squishy topic that not everyone is comfortable with, but if you are willing to go there, vulnerability is really empowering.” - read more from Jodie Antypas, VP, Consumer Insights & UX Research at EA (Electronic Arts)

8. Belief in Data and Analytics

“I think the thing my CMO [Denise Karkos] provides that allows me to be successful is that she is a believer that data and analytics will lead to better decisions and a more impactful marketing practice.” - Paul Siroky, Director of Client Marketing Analytics at TD Ameritrade

9. Leadership by Example

“The best thing a CMO can do to set their team up for success is to lead by example. It’s so much easier said than done, but when CMOs routinely demonstrate their ability to think big and act small, present like they’re right and listen like they’re wrong, creatively problem-solve and laugh throughout the day, everyone else is motivated to bring their A-game as well.” - read more from Julie Channing, VP of Marketing at Allbirds

10. Constructive Feedback

“I want a CMO who is OK with me pushing back but also one that will push back on me. I want a healthy dialogue without fear. When working in social media, change is the constant and nimbleness is a part of the day-to-day -- this lack of ‘concreteness’ tends to frighten most leaders. I need a CMO that is able to trust this fluidity while questioning everything at the same time. The questioning helps not only push our work forward but drive the whole industry.“ - read more from Jasmine Atherton, Social Content & Strategy at Delta