Kellogg World



Scaling Up Your Skill Set

Eric Leininger explains how Kellogg’s new CMO Program helps executives respond to the changing world of marketing

Today’s CMOs face challenges more daunting than those tackled by their forebears. In addition to leadership and decision-making skills, the position requires deep knowledge of fast-moving analytics and an understanding of how to reach an increasingly sophisticated and vocal customer.

The school recently launched the Kellogg Chief Marketing Officer Program to smooth the transition for those new to or
approaching the rank of CMO. Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing Eric Leininger, who serves as co-director of the invitation- only program, discusses the challenges today’s CMOs face and how Kellogg addresses them.

K: What do you see as the main professional development needs for CMOs?
EL: CMOs need to play two significant roles in their quickly changing organizations. First, they must lead the marketing organization when globalization and changes in technology are rapidly transforming our conception of what marketing is all about. Second, CMOs need to be on point to lead the entire organization in embracing an external view of the world through customer focus. Understanding and reaching the customer has moved beyond the marketing department, and the CMO has to drive the customer perspective throughout the company.
K: What are the challenges CMOs face when using analytics?
EL: The main challenge for many CMOs is that they are responsible for work that they have not necessarily done themselves. They need to look at analytics as a leadership challenge with enterprise wide impact, rather than as a specialty function tokeep on track.
K: How is professional development best handled, given the relatively short tenure of the average CMO?
EL: Actually, it looks like CMO tenure is on the rise, though it is still a short tenure relative to those of CEOs and CFOs. The best career development is on-the-job experience, but an intensive four-day program, such as the Kellogg CMO Program, provides our participants with perspective and frameworks to process that experience more quickly and strategically. The program brings together our most seniorfaculty, experienced CMOs and CEOs who lead discussions with the class, and former CMOs who provide the perspective of people in the “wisdom stage” of their careers. Additionally, the program is restricted to 24 people who are jointly chosen by their company and Kellogg, which allows our class to build a very strong network of peers to broaden their industry perspective.
  K: How does the Kellogg CMO Program deal with those development issues?


The Kellogg CMO Program addresses these needs by focusing on four topics: leadership, market orientation, innovation and self-development. The program focuses on newly appointed CMOs and people who will be ready for the position within two years. This enables us to help them increase the odds of success in a new role, which usually represents a step-change increase in responsibility and visibility.

"Understanding and reaching the customer has moved beyond the marketing department, and the CMO has to drive the customer perspective throughout the company.

Eric Leininger
Associate Director of the Kellogg Markets & Customers Initiative