Are You Thinking Like a CMO?

By Robert Half on April 21, 2016 at 7:00pm

Do you aspire to be a chief marketing officer? You first have to think like one. And to think like a CMO, you need to get plugged into who’s influencing them, the topics they’re discussing and the marketing content they’re reading.

What’s on the minds of CMOs today? Well, you can tell a lot by what they share on Twitter. And thanks to Leadtail, we now know.

Leadtail analyzed 241,148 tweets from 1,289 CMOs that were published on Twitter during the first quarter of 2016. The results provide a snapshot of the issues CMOs are focused on and the influencers and ideas that are currently shaping their marketing worldview.

“If you don’t want to fall behind in your marketing career, you should start thinking like a CMO,” says Karri Carlson, Leadtail’s vice president of social insights. “You need to digest the content CMOs read, follow the right people and engage in the right conversations on the right topics.”

Top influencers of CMOs

“There’s an interesting mix of people that CMOs favor with mentions and retweets,” Carlson says. Some influencers are practical and tip-oriented, while others are inspirational or conversational. There are evangelists for their companies like @ValaAfshar (Salesforce), @Jack (Twitter), and @Randfish (Moz); and agency leaders such as @JayBaer (Convince & Convert) and @MargaretMolloy (Siegel+Gale). There are also individuals who fully lean into engaging their audiences like @TedRubin. Adds Carlson: “Rubin has really found the path to influence by being authentic, personal and heavily engaged in discussion with his followers. People like @BryanKramer and @TamaraMcCleary have also effectively built influence with this approach.”  

Hot CMO topics on Twitter

It will come as no surprise that the top hashtags used by CMOs were #marketing and #socialmedia. But visionary CMOs continue to drive the ascent of #tech, #IoT and #innovation within the hashtag ranks.

The need and interest for information surrounding the intersection of marketing, creative and tech is clear. “When you look at topics like data as a service and the Internet of Things, these traditionally might have been in the wheelhouse of the CIO or CTO, but it’s come over the proverbial wall to the CMO,” Carlson says. “CMOs are digital change agents and company leaders are increasingly turning to CMOs for insights on developing big, longer-term visions for new lines of business around IoT.”

The most shared marketing content

Adweek, Advertising Age and Marketing Land topped CMOs most-shared list. “These outlets have done a great job gaining email subscribers with highly active list-building efforts. And people share what they read,” says Carlson, noting that those three publishers share a steady stream of quality content and didn’t rise to the top based on just one or two viral posts.

Moreover, remember three years ago when everyone was talking about how brands needed to become publishers? Carlson says that, HubSpot and Moz are a few examples of that early cohort of brands that actually achieved it. Says Carlson: “These brands do such a good job of creating and distributing useful content that they’re considered credible publishers in their own right — not just vendors hawking software.”

Leadtail works with innovative companies to develop social media strategies that leverage social insights research. Learn more at or follow @Leadtail on Twitter.


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