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Career marketers are aiming higher

Marketing management staff are becoming increasingly more ambitious, new research suggests.

Many of them want to be leaders of their business, not just the marketing department, according to a study of 212 marketers by Forrester.

But an industry expert warned they should first increase their overall business expertise.

At least four out of 10 consumer and business marketers want their next role to be CEO (chief executive officer).

More and more CMOs are coveting cross-functional executive positions such as CEO (chief executive officers) and COO (chief operating officers), the study found.

As many as 40% of B2B marketers and 41% of B2C marketers want to become a CEO in their next job.

One in 10 marketing officers on the B2C front aim to become chief operating officers, with 3% of B2B marketers also having designs on the position.

The trend has swayed towards more aspirational CMOs in the past two years since it last undertook the poll, Forrester said.

That survey found that CMOs were less ambitious then, hoping to become consultants or switching sideways to a larger brand.

The new trend has been spawned by marketing bosses’ certainty that the versatile nature of the position better prepares them for heading a firm. It has also sparked their ambition to lead a company.

A knowledge of strategy best equips them with the potential to lead, according to more than nine in 10 (91%) of those surveyed.

More than seven in 10 (72%) attribute overall management as a reason why they could go on to handle a CEO position.

Forrester analyst Sheryl Pattek said: “CMOs have made progress in asserting themselves as business leaders, not just leading the marketing department.”

But she cautioned that such aspirants must first increase their business know-how as well as grow trust and influence if they are to make the step up.

In addition, they must seriously consider data analytics and make sure they integrate and use technology successfully, she said.

Pattek added: “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.”

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