There is a growing disconnect across the C-suite about what other professionals consider the role of the chief marketing officer to be, according to a new survey that even finds differences of opinion between CMOs and their own marketing teams.

Based on responses from more than 1,000 executives from around the world, The Economist Group asserted that CMOs do not appear to be aligned with the rest of their senior colleagues when it comes to adapting to new technologies or changing expectations of what a company should deliver for its customers.

The study, entitled Wanted: CMOs with 20/20 Vision, identified brand purpose as a major area of concern because 43% of CMOs consider brand purpose to be a key strategic priority compared with just 25% of other senior managers and 19% of non-CMO marketers.

The survey also revealed that a full 71% of CMOs believe there is a lack of board-level understanding of the marketing function’s contribution to business performance – a view shared by just 40% of the rest of the C-suite.

Meanwhile, 43% of CMOs think that company culture and purpose is a key strategic priority, but just a quarter (25%) of the C-suite agrees, Prolific London reported.

Opinions diverge even within marketing teams, the survey found. For example, nearly half (47%) of CMOs believe marketing has a significant influence on strategic priorities, but just a quarter of non-CMO marketers concur.

More than half (55%) of CMOs believe marketing has an influence on business performance and growth, but only 29% of their teams agree.

And while the C-suite prioritises long-term thinking, around two-thirds (68%) of non-CMO marketers champion marketing campaigns of one to two years, with just 23% preferring a mid-term focus of between five to six years.

“If there’s one thing that’s clear from this research, it’s that despite their best efforts, marketers may be missing the mark when it comes to communicating with their colleagues – both inside and outside the marketing department”, said Nicolas Sennegon, EVP, global chief commercial officer at The Economist Group.

“Hopefully this report, together with the tips outlined throughout, will trigger some thoughts that will help teams tackle the challenges,” he added.

Sourced from The Economist Group, Prolific London; additional content by WARC staff