CMOs increasingly have taken on responsibility as the voices and faces of their companies. They are visible in ways never before possible, thanks to the advent of social media. In many cases they are the most accessible executives in any given organization. They represent their company brands, but they establish their personal brands in the process. And their opinions wield influence on the discussion around myriad marketing topics, like mobile marketing and Big Data.
For the third year in a row, Forbes teamed with Appinions to assess how the CMOs of the top companies in Forbes’ Global 2000 list rank in terms of influence, how widely their opinions travel, and how much reaction they generate when they speak. And for the third year in a row, Apple Senior VP-Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller tops the list. In fact, Schiller earned a score more than three times higher than the nearest peer. That’s according to the Annual Forbes/Appinions CMO Influence Study, released today.
According to the study, Schiller topped the list of the most influential CMOs–defined as those chief marketers whose contextually relevant opinions, as expressed in a variety of online and offline media, aren’t just heard, but spur content-sharing in others–like retweets or blog posts. An example of a statement Schiller has made that’s been influential enough to cause others to take action is this excerpt from MacRumors: “When asked about the reports of bending, Apple’s head of marketing, Phil Schiller, called them ‘extremely rare occurrences’ reiterating to CNBC that out of millions of iPhones sold, Apple had only received nine complaints. He also told The Verge that Apple ‘designed the product to be incredibly reliable throughout all your real world use.’”
Schiller’s securing the top spot, yet again, reflects both broad media interest in Apple but also what appears to be a media strategy of regularly putting Schiller’s name and opinions in the press, according to Appinions. Schiller was one of just eight CMOs within the top 50 to register influential opinions and reactions more than twice each week during the period of the study. This included CMOs of one private company and others from four companies of different size in terms of annual revenue. In fact, there was no clear correlation between revenue and ranking. It appears to have more to do with the public role and marketing strategy of the CMO themselves. The bottom half of the top 50 CMOs, meanwhile, registered influential opinions only three times per month or less.
“We’ve seen an ascent of the CMO over the past few years,” said Appinions CEO Larry Levy, “as the technology and practice of marketing has changed and grown in stature in the business world. This year’s report shows that CMOs that cultivate a platform and leverage their brands can gain a powerful platform to distribute their messages to the marketplace.”
The study considers the most senior marketing person at each company. Influence is ranked by extracting opinions, quotes and other reactions from hundreds of millions of articles from news, blog and social-media sources. Proprietary Appinions algorithms rank opinion-holders based on the influence of the people who react to them, the attributes of the publication or source where the reaction occurs, and the overall quantity of reactions to a single opinion.
Rounding out the top 10 most influential CMOs are David Lauren at Ralph Lauren; Tim Mahoney at General Motors; Jim Farley at Ford; Kristin Lemkau at JPMorgan Chase; Trevor Edwards at Nike; Beth Comstock at GE; Seth Farbman at Gap; and Alain Visser at Volvo.
The most-actioned opinion—meaning that which resonated the most, garnered the most reactions, and was published or referenced across networks or media—was that of GE CMO Beth Comstock: “Consumers and businesses have so much information at their fingertips that they can easily become familiar with brands; businesses must be more imaginative when trying to reach consumers, rather than simply promoting their brand … simplicity and speed are imperative for brands.”
Some trends emerged, including automotive industry CMOs appearing most frequently (nine CMOs) followed by those in food and beverage (seven), technology (six), apparel (four) and financial services (four). In terms of gender, female CMOs earned 32% of the top 50 spots, but in terms of scores only garnered 21% of the total influence.
The full Forbes/Appinions 2014 CMO Influence Study can be viewed and downloaded here.
By Jennifer Rooney for Forbes. This article was republished through NewsCred’s Licensed Content Network.