Think Your CMO Is Powerful Now? Just Wait

Chief marketing officers are enjoying a bit of a heyday. Solution providers need to please their customers more than ever, and for many, the CMO is the exec to lead that effort.

But if you think CMOs have got it going on now, wait until you see them in 2015. A recent report from Forrester Research suggests 2015 could be, and should be, the year the CMO steps up to become the top executive responsible for turning the enterprise toward the customer.

In a blog (You'll have to pay for the research), Forrester's Sheryl Pattek says organizations that take on high-powered CMOs and elevate them to a level of influence nearly on par with other top executives (watch out CIOs) are in a better position than those that settle for the status quo.

The CMO, Pattek writes, is the right executive to deal with customers who are increasingly in the driver's seat and applying pressure on solution providers to treat them like gold.

Pattek notes that many organizations struggle to find the right leader to take on this customer-centric relationship, but they're going to have to figure it out if they want to grow.

Ideally, CMOs cultivate trust, collaboration and respect across the organization, Pattek writes. In that kind of atmosphere, he or she can be trusted to turn the keys over to now-empowered buyers.

That's a lot of responsibility, and Pattek recognizes that. Still the upside is almost impossible to ingnore.

"Business as usual cannot be the name of the game," Pattek writes. "More of the same will not elevate a CMO to the level of influence we predict. Instead, in the age of the customer, CMOs must rethink their approach to marketing operational excellence to enable the kind of growth that the CEO will turn to them to achieve going forward."