The CMO Council: A Peer-Powered Global Network Helping Marketing Leaders Develop Growth Strategies and Connect with Audiences for 15 Years

The CMO Council: A Peer-Powered Global Network Helping Marketing Leaders Develop Growth Strategies and Connect with Audiences for 15 Years

TL; DR: The CMO Council, a network of more than 15,000 marketing executives from a range of global industries, has been dedicated to knowledge exchange, thought leadership, and relationship building for 15 years. The influential group helps members achieve success in a rapidly shifting environment through perks that help them learn, engage, and grow. With enhanced solutions, including new talent sourcing opportunities, on the way, the CMO Council is continually finding new ways to serve its growing membership community.

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), an individual responsible for accelerating growth through high-level strategy, plays a central role in many modern corporations.

But Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, remembers when that was not the case. “The CMO title itself, which wasn’t necessarily well-defined, emerged around the same time the CMO Council formed,” he said. “Our object was to help define and align the CMO within the C-Suite, and the original thought leadership was very focused on helping them demonstrate marketing value and business impact.”

CMO Council Executive Director Donovan Neale-May and logo

Executive Director Donovan Neale-May told us how the CMO Council helps marketers achieve success.

The Silicon Valley-based group, founded in 2001, had technical roots before it evolved to encompass a variety of industry sectors. “It’s grown because there’s a large amount of spend in marketing, and the role is typically misunderstood, especially by management,” Donovan said. “The whole focus was to create a peer-powered network where senior marketers can interact as practitioners to encourage global knowledge transfer — and it’s been a phenomenal undertaking.”

The highly engaged group now operates globally across various regions and advisory boards with a robust communication channel that allows them to acquire knowledge, build relationships, and boost professional growth. With new talent sourcing opportunities and other solutions on the horizon, the CMO Council is continuing to help members connect with audiences in an evolving business landscape.

Achieve Success in a Complex and Shifting Digital Landscape

There’s no doubt the digital revolution has expanded communication opportunities by making it easier to connect with audiences. But when it comes to strategies for growth, today’s CMOs must navigate complex terrain.

“Consumer expectations have shifted and changed,” Donovan said. “There’s a need for multichannel engagement, and it’s important to understand the new customer journey: How they want to interact with support teams, new pathways to purchase, what digital content they’re consuming, and how to personalize and scale on a mass basis.”

As markets become increasingly global, Donovan said CMOs also must consider issues around cross-border data transfer, sourcing and integrating data across silos and functional areas, and making it simpler and easier to do business with those customers. “These are all things that digital channels are delivering that weren’t able to be done in real time before,” he said.

Graphic depicting CMO Council benefits

The peer-powered network keeps members up-to-date on industry best practices.

CMOs also need to learn how to properly leverage employees within their organizations as they become more adept at capturing business-related content on personal devices. “Every one of those employees can become a brand ambassador for the company,” Donovan said.

Operationally, Donovan said the move from legacy systems to cloud-based platforms has also presented opportunities for ongoing education. Today, CMOs must learn how to deploy, integrate, and manage different marketing technology stacks as well as provide strategies for adoption.

“The whole shift to digital is the biggest conundrum in the CMO space — it’s a growing area of complexity and challenge operationally, organizationally, and customer interface-wise,” Donovan said.

An Influential Leadership Group for Chief Marketers Worldwide

With an array of educational resources and networking opportunities, the CMO Council aims to be a channel of insight, access, and influence. As an experienced knowledge broker, the group publishes proprietary reports and studies, a quarterly digital magazine, a monthly eJournal, and an interactive site with 50,000 monthly page views, among other resources.

“We have many different channels of engagement, information, and service offerings,” Donovan said. “As one of the most influential leadership groups for chief marketers in the world, we host summits and conferences, produce webinars, and have a very robust LinkedIn Group and social media networks.”

The covers of the council's quarterly magazine and annual eJournal

The group’s monthly eJournal and quarterly digital magazine are channels for thought leadership.

Donovan said the CMO Council is a one-stop shop for improving job proficiency, effectiveness, and leadership while gaining priceless networking opportunities. The council’s research, created based on hundreds of online interviews a year, help members remain current in terms of best practices.

The peer-powered network also helps them assess personal competence. “It’s benchmarking and helping them calibrate how well they’re doing in comparison to others, particularly competitors across different categories,” Donovan said.

This includes a compensation calculator empowering CMOs to see how their pay aligns with peers in various industries, markets, and regions. The council analyzes and compiles this data for its quarterly Compensation Report, which benchmarks overall package values and strengths for CMOs and other senior marketers.

These resources also help members navigate interactions across the executive suite, which Donovan said is a significant part of being a CMO in 2018. “You have to become a customer experience custodian, and that means you’ve got to understand every touchpoint across the enterprise, whether it’s a channel, the contact call center, the retail store, or the sales organization — whatever the case may be,” he said.

Learn, Engage, and Grow Through Tiered Membership with Varied Perks

CMO Council membership is limited to senior marketing decision-makers on the client side. “Collectively, our 15,000 members are responsible for an estimated half a trillion dollars of spend,” Donovan said. “We have a very sizable membership base of startups, middle-market companies, enterprises, nonprofits, hospitals, and government agencies all over the world.”

General membership is complimentary via nomination, invitation, or referral and includes access to content published within the last year. An upgrade to Premium membership provides perks like unlimited access to all content, priority event participation, and Premium-only engagement opportunities for $495.

Those who aren’t qualified for membership may still gain access to content for an annual fee through Affiliate/Library subscriptions. “There is tiered access to our content based on the number of people and the organization — we discount our price for agencies, libraries, and universities.” Corporate subscriptions are an additional option for companies who wish to grant full access to their entire marketing teams.

Aspiring marketers and students may purchase a $99 annual subscription to the CMO Insight Center, which includes marketing intelligence in the form of data, resources, industry event information, and insights from across the globe.

“There’s a rich repository of content that can be accessed by most folks, no matter what their role or position,” Donovan said. “We are a content factory.”

On the Horizon: Enhanced Solution and Talent Sourcing Opportunities

Next on the agenda for the CMO Council is the launch of a new Solution Sourcing Center (SCC) intended to make it easier to acquire, deploy, and manage marketing technology. Through a partnership, the SCC will include access to CabinetM’s Marketing Technology Management platform, which helps teams build marketing stacks to track and manage the tools they buy, develop, and retire.

CabinetM includes a database of more than 8,500 marketing technology products in the areas of MarTech, AdTech, and SalesTech. “The value in the SCC is exchanging peer-based, experiential knowledge and insight on different solution providers,” Donovan said. “It’s so people don’t make the same mistakes or have the same issues that others have had in implementing and getting people to adopt technology.”

Donovan told us the CMO Council also plans to expand its CMO compensation resources to include talent sourcing. “People come to us all the time to get recommendations if they’re trying to fill the CMO position, so we’re expanding the site into a new CMO Talent Sourcing and Compensation Center,” he said.

Christine Preusler

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