Why Marketers Make Great CEOs


There are many experts out there who will argue, based on their own research or experience, what makes a great CEO. So what follows is simply one person’s opinion.

Let’s start by defining to the role of CEO. The Chief Executive Officer is solely responsible for:

  1. Defining the strategic direction and priorities
  2. Managing capital and resources in pursuit of those priorities
  3. Shaping company culture
  4. Leading and growing the senior leadership team
  5. Delivering on overall company performance

At the end of the day, the CEO must be accountable for the overall success or failure of a business. He is the ultimate manager, responsible for all the resources within the company and how they are used in pursuit of the company’s goals.

So what makes marketers so good for this role?

First, company performance is inherent in the marketer’s job. Senior-level marketers have spent years holding themselves and their teams responsible for revenue growth. Knowing how to grow a company is at the top of the marketer’s resume.

Second, a good marketing leader has strong understanding of the marketplace. This means understanding both the competitive landscape as well as the customer. These are crucial areas when it comes to strategic decision making.

Third, today’s marketers are well-schooled in data and analytics. When it comes to managing priorities and making decisions based on projections, models, or past performance, a marketer is on familiar ground.

And finally, marketing is at the core of telling the company’s story. Both internally (with employees) and externally (with customers), a marketer can work to define the brand, the mission, and the values that go into creating and communicating a corporate culture.

While other functional areas may produce strong CEOs, for these reasons I feel strongly that marketers are best-positioned for success in the top spot