The consulting firm compared the results of chief marketing officers (CMOs) in online psychometric testing to those in other C-suite positions. The results, outlined in its publication, Inside the Mind of the Chief Marketing Officer, were fascinating.
CMOs, as it turns out, do have a personality type–and according to the report, they tend to be the most extreme members of the executive offices. This is unsurprising, since they are often the players who drive digital innovation. On the other hand, this makes them more likely to clash with other members in the workplace.
What other personality traits do successful chief marketing officers tend to have? Take a look… some may surprise you.
Learn the Value of CMOs
CMOs display stronger traits than other executives do–they tend to be more innovative and unconventional. They’re also more imaginative, displaying 49 percent more imagination than other executives, according to the report. CMOs are also 34 percent more likely to take initiative and test limits, making them more prone to fighting with more bottom-line driven members of the organization, like the chief financial officer (CFO).
The research comparing the CMO to the CFO is particularly enlightening. According to their more conservative counterparts, CMOs are 40 percent more unconventional, 29 percent more innovative, 60 percent more imaginative, and 30 percent more likely to test limits. While companies may work to stifle the tension that can arise between these two, it can be productive to consider their opposing views as an asset, not a liability. The “diversity of mind” approach allows companies to have the best of both worlds, driving innovation while mitigating risk.
Make Data-Driven Decisions
CMOs, however, are not all fun and games. In fact, successful CMOs understand and make more data-driven decisions than others managers. In today’s highly digital and mobile world, it’s not enough for the modern CMO to be simply innovative and imaginative. CMOs must also make strategic decisions based on the enormous amounts of data accrued on a daily basis. To drive a company toward success, CMOs must balance their innovative impulses with an analytical and decisive side.
On the other end of the spectrum, successful CMOs are agile and adaptable. Those who know when to prioritize data over instinct, and vice versa, are those who are the most valuable members of the C-suite. CMOs must, above all, be adaptable, because the digital landscape is always changing. Changing business campaigns, retooling initiatives, facing failure, and addressing changing leadership, goals, and teams–these are all obstacles that CMOs face routinely.
The principal difference between a CMO and the rest of the executive team is that chief marketing officers are hardwired to view such changes and obstacles as opportunities, not challenges. This approach is crucial–apply it right and you’re looking at company growth and a cozy bottom line. Get it wrong and you’re dealing with business stagnation.
Seek an Engaging, Outgoing Partner
If you’re in the market for a CMO, there are a few things to look for in the perfect partner. First, find someone who is both engaging and outgoing. These people tend to be more pioneering, persuasive, and innovative. I think it’s safe to say we would all like our marketers to have these traits.
Another important quality to look for in a prospective CMO is high emotional intelligence. EQ is notoriously hard to quantify, but consider these questions:
- Do they seem genuinely curious to learn about others?
- Do they seem to communicate with their emotions effectively? For example, do they readily address any shortcomings or do they go on the defensive?
- Do they deal effectively with change? Adaptability is key.
- Do they understand their strengths and weaknesses? Those with a high EQ know both, and are willing to talk about them.
CMOs are dynamic members of the executive team, charged with driving innovation and adapting to a changing landscape. As such, successful marketing gurus are agile, creative, and emotionally intelligent. Seek someone who displays these common CMO attributes to balance your team and drive your company’s success.
A version of this post was first published on Forbes.