The results indicate that 86% of senior marketers believe lack of leadership depth and capabilities has resulted in missed revenue, growth and customer acquisition opportunities.

According to the report, one-third of senior marketers surveyed by the CMO Council in early 2021 admit lack of resources, capabilities and effective leadership in key functional areas, which 'consistently' impair the performance of their team; over half concede this is an intermittent problem.

A large number of CMOs (43%) admit that it is "very difficult, time-consuming and always challenging" to find experienced, proficient and knowledgeable functional leaders and direct reports; a further 40% acknowledge that it is "moderately difficult".

"Most senior marketers say they are challenged by the time it takes to properly recruit and onboard senior functional leaders on their team," says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.

According to Neale-May, more than half of survey respondents say that the process takes three to six months and another 15% indicate this can take more than six months.

"There's no doubt the office of the CMO could be quickly and effectively fortified with fractional or interim marketing leaders hired on-demand," says Neale-May.

To this end, the CMO Council has indicated that it is partnering with Chief Outsiders to offer its members on-demand outsourcing of senior marketing talent on a contract or interim basis.

Chief Outsiders manages a large, fractional resource group of CMOs with expertise across industries, functional areas and geographies. 

Findings from the latest CMO Council survey reveal that 93% of chief marketers say they have had a very positive, quite good or favorable experience using interim marketing leaders. Not one reported a poor relationship and only 5% stated that it was inconsistent.

While respondents say that sourcing permanent employee talent is complex and time-consuming, only about a third of chief marketers have retained experienced contractors or part-time staff at the director and above level.

Despite leadership gaps and holes, 41% of chief marketers report they have not used contractors, while 25% say they are assessing this option or plan to do so in 2021, according to the report.

Scaling the Value of the CMO research highlighted the five main benefits of using fractional or interim marketing leaders. This include:
  • a fast ramp-up and time-to-performance
  • proven performers and doers
  • a range of competencies and capabilities
  • domain expertise or knowledge, and
  • added value thinking and leadership depth.
"Clearly, CMOs are challenged to fill critical leadership roles — particularly when it comes to using digital marketing technology and actionable data to improve go-to-market strategy, customer targeting, conversion and ongoing engagement," says Art Saxby, CEO, co-founder and principal of Chief Outsiders.

"It is gratifying to see that over 90% of those surveyed said they had realised a very positive or favourable experience using interim marketing leaders in their enterprise," concludes Saxby.

The top five areas where chief marketing officers see gaps, holes and deficiencies in their marketing leadership structures include:
  • the customer journey, acquisition and conversion
  • segmentation and personalised messaging at scale
  • actioning on customer data insight
  • demand generation and pipeline, and
  • campaign execution and measurement.
The report is based on a survey conducted in Q1 2021 of 150 senior marketing executives. A complimentary report is available for download here

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