The chief marketing officer role is one of the most dynamic, challenging, exhilarating, complex, nuanced and powerful in the C-suite. CMOs are driving innovation in myriad ways and in areas as diverse yet tightly woven as culture, technology, talent, creativity, product development, organizational structure, purpose and process. Some of the most innovative CMOs around the globe are leading marketing at some of the biggest U.S. and multinational corporations—creating waves of impact on their companies, the industry and society as they make choices in agency partners, work to build diverse and inclusive teams, unveil groundbreaking ad campaigns and otherwise steward iconic brands. The Forbes World’s Most Influential CMOs list annually identifies these CMOs, those who are using voice and visibility to wield influence that is helping to move organizations, spur innovation, drive business growth and shape cultural narrative as never before.
But there is another community of CMOs who may not all be household names—yet. They may not be as visible as more established counterparts. They may have spent their time thus far heads-down, toiling to build a new brand or reset a historic company for future growth. They may have pioneered with a new career opportunity, jarring in its dissimilarity from anything else they had known, bringing a diversity of thinking and expertise to a fledgling culture. Through their work, the day-to-day of their posts, they are reimagining, reinventing and redefining the CMO role. They have diverse educations and career paths. They are progressive thinkers who bring an obsessive customer-first mindset to the job.
Today Forbes launches CMO Next, an unprecedented and definitive list of 50 CMOs who are redefining the CMO role and who embody all that the role is becoming, can be and will be in the future. Through qualitative research tapping into the expertise of industry watchers as well as Forbes’ editorial industry knowledge, the list features 50 people who have reached the highest-level marketing position within a given company—CMO title or equivalent—and who are driving brand and business growth. The list highlights the individuals’ education, expertise, experience, mindset and mandate within organizations. The individuals hail from both new and emerging companies as well as legacy, established corporations. Not a ranking, the goal is to annually spotlight CMOs who serve as models of a new, emerging and disruptive chief marketer.