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“Cladogenesis” is a term used by evolutionary scientists to describe the relatively sudden division of an existing species into two or more separate lines – thus creating new species – often in response to radical change in the environment. It appears the Chief Marketing Officer is going through something very like cladogenesis right before our eyes.

Our global research, conversations with C-suite executives, and the direct observations of consultants across Egon Zehnder’s CMO practice suggest that CMOs are quickly diversifying across five critical axes:

There is substantial overlap between several of the dimensions we have identified, but each has its own character, and each company needs its CMO to fulfill a specific mix of these varied and distinct roles, in line with its corporate strategy and the changing demands of its marketplace. In other words, what it means to be a “Chief Marketing Officer” is increasingly situational, varied and multidimensional. Never has there been so much potential for two great CMOs to look so different from one another – to be, in effect, separate species.

This splitting of the CMO into these very different lines, each marked by discrete strengths, is a profoundly important development. In this very moment, what it means to be CMOis being redefined by inexorable environmental forces. All those concerned with marketing effectiveness – including board audit committees, CEOs, and marketers themselves – need to stay closely attuned to this ongoing transformation.

Read the full paper CMO Redefined.

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