The study, which questioned 212 consumer and business marketers, found that 40 per cent of B2B marketers and 41 per cent of B2C marketers are aiming to become a CEO in their next role. Some 10 per cent of marketing officers on the B2C side want to become chief operating officers, with 3 per cent of B2B marketers aspiring to the role.
Forrester says this is a “very different picture” compared to two years ago, when it last conducted the survey. Then, the research firm found that the majority of CMOs were either planning to become consultants or move sideways to a bigger brand and were less likely to consider a move up.
The shift comes because marketing bosses believe the diverse nature of the role now better prepares them for leading a company and has fuelled their interest in doing so. Some 91 per cent believe their experience with strategy is preparing them to lead, while 72 per cent cite general management as a reason why they could take on a CEO role.
“CMOs have made progress in asserting themselves as business leaders, not just leading the marketing department,” says Forrester analyst Sheryl Pattek.
However, Forrester warns that if they want to take the next step, CMOs must expand their knowledge of the business, as well as build trust and influence. They must also “get serious” about data analytics and ensure they integrate and use technology efficiently.
“Customer obsession is the most important strategic imperative. To steward the journey towards customers obsession, CMOs must lead the charge to use technology effectively to create actionable data-driven insights that fuel business growth,” says Pattek.