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Help wanted: Skillful CMO with track record

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"The microscope on CMOs is so intense that Superman or Superwoman would have trouble getting it all done," said Greg Welch, partner and practice leader-marketing officer practice at executive search firm Spencer Stuart, Chicago. "The search business for CMOs is at an unprecedented level."

A study last year by Spencer Stuart found that the average tenure for CMOs at the top 100 branded companies is just 22.9 months. By comparison, the average tenure for CEOs at the top 100 branded companies is 53.8 months. The survey also found that just 14% of CMOs at the world's top companies have been in their jobs for more than three years.

Some companies are turning to temporary marketing executives, even at very senior levels. "We've seen an explosion of growth within corporate marketing departments taking on these types of consultants on an interim basis," said Sean Bisceglia, CEO of CPRi, a Chicago-based interim staffing company that has placed more than 650 marketing professionals at Fortune 500 companies in the last two years.

"Our biggest challenge in this business is that there is no set certification for marketing professionals," he said.

certification Programs

But the industry's two major trade associations are moving toward standardized marketing certification programs.

This month, the Business Marketing Association plans to unveil a new online marketing training program, an extension of its Certified Business Communicator program.

"Our CBC program needed to be updated," said Rick Kean, executive director of the BMA. "Our CBC exam was a test of experience more than anything else."

The new program will consist of three parts: an online marketing skills assessment, a nine-part online training course and a marketing skills certification. The program may keep the CBC name, although the BMA may change the name to Certified Business Marketer, Kean said.

Last year, the Association of National Advertisers launched a Marketer Certification Program designed to train marketers in a standard set of marketing skills that encompasses brand development, advertising, media planning and event planning.

The ANA's curriculum consists of three required courses: brand building, managing brand equity and annual brand planning. It also requires three electives selected from media plan development, event marketing planning, customer insights and other disciplines. To receive the Accredited Marketing Professional designation, marketers must complete a total of six courses within 24 months. The ANA offers the training in conjunction with the Center for Marketing Excellence through a series of seminars around the country, as well as on-site at companies.

By the end of the year, more than 100 marketers are expected to have earned the designation, according to the ANA. 

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