The World’s 50 Most Influential CMOs Study 2015

Guest post by Rebecca Lieb.

What matters most to the world’s most influential marketers?

Content marketing, that’s what.

For the fourth consecutive year, ScribbleLive (formerly Appinions) has teamed with Forbes – and this year with new partner LinkedIn – to evaluate the data that reveal who the most influential CMOs in the English-speaking world are. These are the marketing leaders who publish and share opinions that travel broadly and generate significant reactions. Sometimes, influence can be based on newsworthiness, when CMOs or the companies they represent become part of the news cycle.

The 2015 ScribbleLive/Forbes CMO Influence Study is available now for download.

Why influence? In marketing, influence is currency. It’s the ability to be seen and to be heard. Influence isn’t noise, it’s signal. Influence isn’t filler, it’s the ability to matter. Influence, in short, is standing head and shoulders above the crowd, arguably the goal every CMO has in common for the product, company and/or service they represent.

In the four years this survey has been conducted, the topics that matter to influential CMO tend to shift, but overall are not surprising. They’ve discussed subjects like social media, mobile marketing, Big Data and the cloud.

This year we’ve seen all those topics wane in importance to these influencers. Yes mobile still matters, and so does social media (though it garners 14 percent less conversation than it did last year, a significant drop).

The #1 topic influential CMOs discussed this year? Content marketing. Content matters more to these influencers than any other discrete topic within marketing: more than data, global marketing, millennials, or channel- or platform-oriented marketing strategies and tactics such as mobile or social.

Content is an essential to marketing, as it is essential to influence. The 50 most influential CMOs are demonstrating influence via their mastery of content. This in turn has a halo effect on their brands, and the brands, in turn amplify the influence of the CMOs who are their stewards.

Apple’s Phil Schiller, for example, is influential on all the marketing topics that mattered to CMO’s in 2015, but his influence is also buoyed by the progression of high-profile product launches he oversees for Apple. iPhone, Apple Watch, iPads, all these combine to create an influence score eight times higher than all top-10 influential CMOs combined.

Another notable CMO (now vice chairperson) is GE’s Beth Comstock. Comstock adheres to no particular topic, but when she publishes her peers listen – she’s the most-followed influential CMO by her peers on both Twitter and on LinkedIn. Comstock demonstrates that position, authority, and a steady content stream build audience, as well as value.

The report contains other significant findings, and many demonstrations of the ways in which CMOs harness influence both for themselves and their brands through a mastery of content.

I encourage you to download it for information – and inspiration.

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