A CMO’s priorities are numerous and diverse: having responsibility for brand strategy and positioning while leading key areas like the company’s revenue cycle can be an incredibly complex job. Throw in digital transformation and customer experience, and you can quickly see why the role of CMO is one that faces both job dissatisfaction and high turnover. 

Most CMOs are strategic thinkers with strong leadership and communication skills — but when it comes to both being creative and running the marketing organization with excellence, most possess strengths in one area or the other. It’s rare to find innovative, creative thinkers who are also proficient at managing all the details that are required to lead a successful marketing machine. 

That’s when smart CMOs look for support. And that support can often come from unusual places. There are precious few individuals in the marketing and PR industry who have both the temperament and the experience to understand things from the CMO’s point of view, and those individuals are very likely hidden inside a specialist provider like a PR firm or your demand generation agency, rather than in some expensive high-level consulting practice. 

Here are a few characteristics to help you identify your “best friends” without ever looking outside your current agency partners. 

Broad Strategic Thinking. The agency might be a specialist of some kind, but your best friend is not tied to the same narrowly focused view that the agency takes to problem-solving. They see beyond the scope and push for broader impact, even reaching out to other agencies and teams to provide leadership. 

Analytical and Challenges the Status Quo. Large marketing departments served by large agencies often develop a “keep your head down” culture, and marketing partners that act or are treated like vendors will rapidly become order-takers and yes-men. The CMO needs to know that his or her team will speak up if a bad idea is being pushed through the process. It only takes one vocal idealist who sees a better path and isn’t afraid to push back to bring the issue to light.

ROI and P&L Focused. Your best friend won’t be overly concerned about growing their own business at your expense. They will want, even push for, metrics that show ROI. Someone on the team should be aware of how marketing affects the company’s bottom line and be ready to speak up if they see opportunity or waste across the marketing mix.

They may be “hiding in plain sight” in agency leadership or account service, or they may actually be in a specialist role of some kind, but when you talk to them about what you’re trying to accomplish, you quickly realize they seem to grasp the full picture faster and clearer than anyone else on team. Those folks are rare and, when found, should be fast-tracked into the CMO’s inner circle.

At Frenzy, we ensure each client has a mix of strategic thinking leaders along side highly capable specialists and subject matter experts. That integration of perspectives leads to the best results.