Kirsten Stagg

Kirsten Stagg

Future of Marketing


Building the CMO-CFO Relationship

Skoda UK's marketing director on how CMOs are facing a big challenge to win over the CFOs

By Kirsten Stagg

The modern CMO has come a long way from its stereotypical image of old – that of a creative leader who spends more time away from the office than in it, to be found on glamorous shoots abroad, spending money that other business areas could only dream of, to that of a multi-faceted, commercial and integral leadership role, sitting right at the heart of the business and accountable for delivering serious business results.

Today’s CMO needs to be as comfortable interrogating performance data, discussing and defining systems architecture and developing a customer experience blueprint for an omnichannel experience as they are defining the strategic communications platform for their brand.

This is why I love my job so much. No two days are the same. In fact, no two meetings are the same.

The uncertainty and volatility of recent years has led to businesses pivoting and reacting quicker than ever, coupled with a nervousness around investing in more bold and strategic initiatives. The CMO must be able to push through strategic (and often complex) initiatives while also delivering against the short-term business needs, acting not just as the guardian of brand development but also of the customer experience.

This makes the role so rewarding, you have to be right at the centre of the action, with a solid and dynamic grasp of the operational challenges and commercial performance, while on the other hand scanning the horizon for future trends and opportunities.

There has been a power shift towards the CFO - the ultimate holder of the purse strings, and CMOs are facing a big challenge to win them over to ensure that investment is also prioritised for development of the brand and customer experience.

Clever use of data analysis and insight, real-time reporting, forecasting and modelling tools and test and learn approaches can help this by making the outcomes more tangible and less risky, therefore appealing to the ‘minds’, but big leaps forward will only come from innovation and a commitment to creativity and for this the modern CMO also needs to win over ‘hearts’ by passionately bringing the vision to life for others.

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