For four years, Forbes has worked in partnership with ScribbleLive (formerly known has Appinions) and LinkedIn to compile a chief marketing officer hit list
, a “who’s who” roundup of the most “noteworthy” CMOs on the scene today. For Forbes’ readers, this is one of many great ways to get an idea of what companies to be paying attention to, investing in, or trying to beat. For ScribbleLive, it’s a great way to continue establishing authoritative footing in marketing thought leadership. But for content marketing aficionados, it’s a veritable treasure trove for learning opportunities.
Understanding the List
Before taking the time to dig through the impressive fifty-page study, it’s important to understand how it all came together. While the exact particulars aren’t provided for readers, the introduction does lay down some ground rules:
- While not every person on the list has “Chief Marketing Officer” on their business cards, every one of them holds the terminal marketing position in their company.
- Currently, LinkedIn estimates that about 22 percent of CMOs were only promoted to their position in the past year. To ensure that its list only represents the best in marketing executive power, all officers included in the list have held their positions for at least seven years as of 2015.
- Candidates were selected by compiling data from thousands of news articles, content postings, and other similar influencer content from across the Web. Scores were applied to all of this content, taking into account variables like reputability of the source, amount of interaction, and citations of the content thereafter. For each CMO, these scores were compiled to create a total score, intended to represent each leader’s influence on marketing today.
What the Influencers Are Talking About
An interesting side effect of pulling data from news and interactions across the Internet was a distillation of the topics that have marketers talking.
Content marketing topped the list of CMO conversations this past year, with other popular conversations like marketing innovation continuing to occupy other top spots. Interesting to note, however, is the continued interest in Millenials as a target audience—a popularity that presumably will only continue to grow as the younger constituents of this crowd grow ever stronger in buying power. Social media continues to be important in conversation, but it has been overshadowed by mobile marketing—a likely result of mobile marketing and advancements requiring more technical knowledge than most social media practices, which are deeply established for most marketers today.
Regardless, it should be encouraging for content marketing professionals to know both that their work is important to some of the most established marketers out there today, and that because of this, there is a wealth of material at their disposal to continue improving their craft.
Your Marketing Mentor Shopping List
There’s a marketing trend for everyone somewhere in this study, with CMOs representing a wide range of industries, practices, and strategies taking up residence. The presentation itself highlights a couple notable people from the top of the list, but here are a few others from further in to keep your eye on:
- John Frascotti: Having spent nearly a decade working to promote Hasbro, Frascotti’s team has not only successfully helped usher the toy manufacturer into a broader entertainment space, but his teams have also been ahead of the curve on efforts like crowd-sourced creative.
- Andrew Sherrard: For a mix of B2B and B2C marketing practices, this T-Mobile CMO can provide a lot of insight marketers working with challenger brands, especially when moving forward requires a hard look at your current market position.
- Beth Comstock: For B2B marketers wondering how content can fit into their efforts, Comstock is the perfect example of how thought leadership and personal branding can create new avenues for branding and growth. All it takes is a few moments of scanning this General Electric exec’s nearly fanatical social media and news followings to see how having a personal face can help an otherwise impersonal brand.
Regardless of your industry, there’s plenty of insight to be drawn from the remainder of the list—from profiles on your industry’s leaders, to breakdowns of what Twitter handles the most successful CMOs follow, to a list of rising stars who may be climbing the ranks with innovative techniques that could help you and your brand. But regardless of industry, experience, or accomplishment, content continues to remain at the center of it all.
Interested in marketing trends? Check out “6 Content Marketing Trends to Help Plan Your 2016 Budget.”