This report explores the role of marketing on the board. At a time where business is more data-driven than ever, it looks at how marketers can help their fellow business leaders put the customer at the centre of the business to deliver sustainable, long-term growth that satisfies every stakeholder.

The report, published in association with Oracle Marketing Cloud, looks at the compelling reasons to have marketers at the most senior levels of the organisation, what marketers need to do to attain this level and what the implications are for the company as a whole.

It is based on a series of in-depth interviews with a number of senior marketers, the majority of whom are currently members of leadership of executive boards.

Topics covered

  • The current marketing leadership landscape
  • Why do we need marketers on the board?
  • How to gain a seat at the board
  • How marketers can be the agents of change
  • The future for marketing on the board

Key findings

  • The role of today’s CMO is all-encompassing. It requires them to be part artist – leading their teams to develop inspiring campaigns; part scientist – analysing and uncovering value from the huge volumes of valuable data they collect; and part politician – building relationships and becoming great communicators.
  • Bringing marketers to the board is largely a global phenomenon with both European and North American companies seeing marketers making inroads at the top level. However, the rest of world picture is a little more fragmented. Australian marketers have been identified as pulling away from other nations in the region in terms of marketing skill and development.
  • The single most important skill identified by all the executives interviewed for this report was the ability to communicate in a vernacular that the board can understand. In the vast majority of cases this means leaving a great deal of what could be termed marketing speak at the door.
  • Marketers no longer have the luxury of claiming “I’m simply not a numbers person” but they are still hired for their creative and strategic side. Providing there is enough understanding to comprehend how the detailed components will drive the strategy forward, delegation isn’t just desired, it’s vital.
  • The marketer at board level is a split personality. To show credibility and strategic leadership, they need to fit into the mould of their peers at the table. But as advocates of the customer and custodians of creativity in the organisation, they also need to distill the dry facts and figures, the long-term goals into excitement and enthusiasm through the teams they lead.


The methodology involved two main phases:

  • Phase 1: Desk research to identify relevant issues and opportunities for marketing at board level; examining the current leadership landscape and how it is evolving.
  • Phase 2: A series of in-depth interviews with a number of senior marketers, the majority of whom are currently members of leadership or executive boards.


We would like to thank the following for their contributions to this report:

  • Pete Markey, CMO, The Post Office (UK)
  • Philip Almond, CMO, BBC Audiences (UK)
  • Alex Aiken, CMO, UK Government
  • Sholto Douglas-Home, CMO, Hays Recruitment (UK)
  • Barnaby Dawe, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Just Eat (Global)
  • Randall Rozin, Global Director, Brand Management and Marketing Communications, Dow Corning (US)
  • Evan Greene, CMO, The Grammys (US)
  • Bjorn Sprengerss, CMO, PropertyGuru (APAC)
  • Julie C Lyle, Chairman of the Board, CMO in transition, The Global Retail Marketing Association (US)

Other reports in the Modern Marketing Actionable Insights Series