The C-suite relationship that is becoming increasingly important to the new age of marketing is one that can be difficult to achieve: the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) partnership.

A recent global survey by the Fournaise Marketing Group revealed that 80% of CEOs are unimpressed with their CMO. Whilst this may be a concerning stat for marketers, the survey also found that 70% of these same CEOs admitted responsibility for their marketer’s poorly perceived performance due to lack of experience or understanding.

Though some misalignments will always occur, it’s evident that these two leaders must start locking step. Read on to discover how to overcome the CMO and the CEO divide, and why the lines between roles may need to be blurred.

Let the CMO in on the executive board

We know that markets are going through dynamic change and responding to this is complex. But leading organisational strategy need no longer be the lone job of the executive board. The CMO’s experience and understanding of market segments naturally lends itself to driving strategic direction. Not only is this the logical way of infusing vital customer touchpoints into core planning into your organisation’s strategy, but it also provides the CMO with a wide-angled view of business matters, which will better aid their own marketing objectives.

Using marketing to guide corporate strategy by having the CMO continuously update the boardroom about new customer preferences is what’s going to make this work. As Martin Roll, Business and Brand Strategist & CEO Mentor explains, “Both the CEO and the CMO should have a strong involvement in charting the growth path of the organisation and its strategic priorities. The CEO, by the nature of the role, will have a stronger role to play in this. Thus, to a larger extent, the onus lies on him or her to give the CMO a seat at this strategic table which will also help to fuel innovation as part of the business agenda.”

Pinpoint and line up on purpose

And we’re not just talking the broad business purpose – the CMO-CEO must also align on the marketing purpose. Whether it’s strong brand development, establishing growth engines, or owning end-to-end customer experience, buy-in on objectives is key.

So much of the CEO’s job is actually marketing the company. They’re one of the primary people defining the company to consumers, investors and the business community,” argues Tariq Shaukat, President of Bumble.

By having their CEOs buy-in, marketers are much more likely to the get the budget and resources they need.

The C-suite relationship that is becoming increasingly important to the new age of marketing is one that can be difficult to achieve is the CEO and CMO partnership.

Cross-functional collaboration

Forward-thinking CEOs are launching multi-disciplined systems to set CMOs up to achieve more, but they must be clear about what they expect and how other areas of the business should be engaged with to accomplish these goals.

It’s then up the CMO to make it work by bringing together all the relevant operations and departments. Since the CMO often does not have authority over other leaders to influence important outcomes, this can be an arduous task as CMO of Essent, Dorkas Koenen, explains “marketing too often is a black box [so] you should bring all the leaders in and make them owner of a marketing program.”

Forging all teams together like this should be top of mind for CEOs and CMOs alike. Only when this is carried out, can successful marketing be built in cohesion with the CEO’s prospects.

It requires the right resources

With marketing leaving its conventions behind and expanding onto more and more platforms, the digital and technological groundwork involved is critical. Chief Science Officer at DataPrime, Inc, Kirk Borne, observes digital marketing as becoming the “central hub for business offerings, technology applications, customer experience management, social media engagement, and financial risk management, so the CMO role will grow into one of the most sought-after and trusted advisors in the C-suite.”

Both parties must agree on the resources and systems used so that the CMO is always well positioned to deliver metrically and creatively. Only when carefully planned processes and technology are in place, will marketing triumph and the C-suite outcomes that matter be delivered.

The CEO and CMO relationship is changing – it’s time that CMOs come to be part of the wider organisational objectives and for CEOs to immerse themselves in customer perspectives. CEO-CMO alignment is not to be taken for granted. The cruciality of a progressive cross-functional collaboration between both roles is becoming a differentiator for the future enterprise. Prioritise and invest in it and it will pay you dividends for a long time.