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What skills are crucial for the modern CMO?

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Matthew Taylor
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The role of a chief marketing officer has evolved from focusing on traditional marketing strategies to a more complex, multifaceted role. But what core skills are needed to thrive as a CMO in 2024?

The traditional marketing model has expanded. Just a few years ago, there were

distinct key legs of the marketing stool: advertising, public relations, direct marketing – and, occasionally, brand design.

This was the “whole egg” approach, according to Peter Himler, founding principal and editor of the New York- based PR and marketing firm Flatiron Communications. “Now that Humpty

Dumpty has fallen off the wall, there are so many more disciplines available to us,” said Peter.

Tech-driven convergence is changing marketing strategies that were once content-driven, independent of delivery.

“Delivery matters,” said Tata Consultancy Services chief design officer Fabian Birgfeld, adding that modern CMOs “need to create a holistic solution with a holistic approach”. Fabian went on to say that “this is relatively complicated, but that’s what drives transformation and the changing role of the CMO”.

This means that the CMO of 2024 may require a different skillset to that of their predecessors. “I personally look for adaptability, because I think that is one of the core skills,” explained Thorsten Mühl, chief digital marketing and experience officer of cosmetics firm Cosnova.

”You have to be, on the one hand, adaptable to a very dynamic landscape of marketing and digital tech, but also adaptable to the internal organisation and be able to manage different teams and different stakeholders,” added Thorsten.

In regards to marketing specifics, this means understanding the growing role of influencers in shaping consumer trends.

When working with influencers, CMOs should take care to align with their brand’s narrative in order to maintain authenticity and avoid issues like greenwashing, especially in sensitive sectors such as energy.

For the average CMO, this translates to having your finger on the pulse of influencer marketing or – as Thorsten branded it – ‘creator relations’. “We are consumer brands talking to a young gen Z audience… it’s TikTok first,” said Thorsten. 

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