KRAs of the CMO

  • 16 Mar 2015
  • Posted by Anand Sambasivam


The deliverables of today’s CMO have been reconstructed to demonstrate a dramatic shift towards more measurable outcomes; from brand positioning and product/service awareness towards a more quantifiable contribution towards the organization’s bottom line.

As rightly pointed out by Monique D.M., “The journey to transforming marketing from a cost center to a revenue center is a crucial one to make and one that will be increasingly more important as marketing continues to rapidly evolve.” (Founder & CMO,; February, 2015.)

Inferred from ‘Analytics for the CMO’ (Aberdeen Group 2011), and markedly holding true in 2015, the key KRAs for today’s CMO are as follows:

  • Delivering High Quality Sales Leads

  • Quantifying & Increasing Return on Marketing Investment

  • Increasing Year on Year Incremental Sales Lift

  • Increasing Year on Year Customer Retention Rates

Evidenced in ‘Analytics of the CMO’ (Aberdeen Group, 2011), when 160 end-user organizations were surveyed regarding the CMO’s “top pressures”, an emphasis on ‘high quality’ sales leads and delivering ROI on marketing spend came out on top with 48% of the respondents indicating towards them. Further, the deliverables that set apart the best in class companies were the role played by marketing organizations in contributing to the sales pipeline, improvement in incremental sales lift and improvement in customer retention rates. The best in class companies surpassed the performance of their peers in these arenas conclusively, as demonstrated in table above.

Well into 2015, these five KRAs furthermore demand for strategic action. At the heart of this action lies data platform management. The What, Why and Where of customer behavior is the guiding force and today’s CMO needs to intensify his ability to analyze and integrate customer data. Moreover, effective data management also spurs the CMO’s efforts towards synthesizing the voice of the customer across the organization. ‘The Ultimate Marketing Machine’ (Harvard Business Review, July 2014) indicates a clear correlation between business growth and superior methods of data usage. “Knowing what an individual consumer is doing where and when is now table stakes. High performers in our study are distinguished by their ability to integrate data on what consumers are doing with knowledge of why they’re doing it, which yields new insights into customers’ needs and how to best meet them.”

Guided by effective data management, the CMO ought to now import the entire ambit of digital marketing initiatives into the mainframe approach. Today, digital marketing has surpassed being a mere component; marketing campaigns ought to “start with the digital”, as expressed by Mark Asher, Head of MI & Strategy at Adobe. Tied in with this is the CMO’s ability to measure the effectiveness of these campaigns and assess & improve digital marketing ROI. Insight from McKinsey reveals that “while over 70 percent of companies believe that digital marketing holds significant potential, more than half struggle to measure its exact impact on sales and profits.” (ROI Analytics for Digital Marketing, J. Boringer, R. Divol & D. Spillecke, 2013). Improving customer retention, acquisition, effectiveness in cross-selling, up-selling, and increased sales should be a direct outcome of efficient data utilization and proven digital marketing initiatives by today’s CMO.