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If you stay up to date on business news, you might have heard of a new job in town–the Chief Growth Officer, also known as a CGO. CGOs are more results-focused than CMOs, and they work with every department on every aspect of the company to maximize revenue and customer retention. Major companies like Hershey’s and Kellog’s are integrating this role into their corporate teams, and Coca-Cola even replaced their CMO with a CGO.

As a general rule, these transformations are symbols of innovation. Coca-Cola’s decision to eliminate its CMO role and hire a CGO, for example, is a result of the brand’s desire to grow from a beverage company to a full-blown tech company. Like many other major brands, Coca-Cola hired a CGO to “accelerate growth efforts,” which the company–without a doubt–will do in the coming years.

But what does this mean for companies that aren’t international, billion-dollar institutions? Read on to find out whether you need a CGO for your business.

What Is a CGO?

Before you can determine if you need a CGO, it’s essential to learn what a CGO is and what they do.

A CGO is part of the C-Suite–those executive-level managers in your company that can include a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). There have been a lot of changes in the C-Suites of major companies lately, and the introduction of CGOs is just part of that.

The CGO was born as a result of shifting consumer behaviors that require a more detailed, targeted approach to marketing and sales. Customers don’t just want a good product at a reasonable price point anymore. Instead, they want to interact with a brand via effective omnichannel marketing. More specifically, they want this marketing to cater to their needs every step of the way.

A CGO’s goal is to create a seamless, enjoyable customer experience, regardless of what action the consumer takes or wants to take. They work with a company’s marketing, sales, product, and finance departments to make sure that the customer is happy and the system runs smoothly.

In short, a CGO looks at the big picture to come up with innovative ways to make your team operate more effectively and efficiently, while also offering an outstanding customer experience from start to finish.

How is a CGO different from a CMO?

CMOs and CGOs have some similarities, but they are fundamentally different roles. A CMO, or Chief Marketing Officer, is in charge of marketing efforts to build brand awareness to drive business.

A CGO also wants to drive business growth, as their title implies. But they do a lot more than just dealing with marketing. A CGO has an in-depth understanding of the target audience, including their research process and how they buy. They base their decisions and strategies on working within that buying process to position their company as the perfect solution. A CGO isn’t restricted to working with the marketing team. They look for innovative ways to help the whole company excel.

Both CMOs and CGOs Are In Charge Of:
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Marketing Training & Development
  • Positioning
  • Branding
  • Multi-Channel Marketing
  • Marketing ROI
  • Staffing
  • Leadership / Team Building
  • Public Relations
  • Content Creation
  • Marketing Technologies
  • Lead Generation
CGOs Are Also Responsible For:
  • Profitable Growth
  • Sales Strategies and Execution
  • Helping Sales and Marketing Work Together
  • Product Development and Expansion
  • Strategic Business Planning
  • Customer Retention and Growth

What Does This Mean for Marketing?

Since some companies are replacing CMOs with CGOs, what does this mean for marketing and marketers?

It’s not a doomsday prophecy. All it means is that marketers need to continue evolving.

The days when Sales and Marketing departments barely spoke to each other are over. To stay relevant in the days of CGOs, marketers need to form and maintain healthy, bilateral relationships with members of every department, focus on the customer, and think outside of the box for strategies that involve the whole company.

When Envision Digital rebranded as InThink, we changed our title from Marketing Agency to Growth Agency. We did this because we see the future of marketing, and we know how interdimensional and exciting it is. We’re not limiting ourselves to marketing anymore. We’re helping companies grow by thinking creatively and breaking boundaries.

Should Your Business Hire a CGO? 3 Critical Considerations

Should you ditch your CMO for a CGO? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here are a few things to evaluate first:

  • Your industry and business size. Whether you need a CGO, CMO, or both depends on a lot of different factors, including your industry and business size. Today, most CGOs work for companies with fewer than 200 people in the marketing and IT industries. In these industries, growth is key to survival. Plus, fewer employees mean more opportunities for growth for the CGO to identify.
  • Budget. Most often, companies with CGOs have significant marketing budgets. About 20% of brands with $5-50 million in marketing budgets have CGOs, while only 11% of companies with an ad buy of less than $5 million have CGOs.
  • Your goals. Does your company want to add a new feature like a mobile app? If so, hiring a CGO is probably a good idea. According to a survey by Singular, (77%) of chief growth officers (CGOs) said that apps are critical to delivering customer value or generating revenue. Better yet – they’re uniquely qualified to help you deploy and implement new technology like this.

In the end, it might not be an either/or situation. In many companies, CMOs and CGOs work closely together. They share some goals but are not necessarily the same thing. Think of CGOs as the holistic growth machine of a company. They orchestrate and harmonize the various segments of a brand so everything runs smoothly and supports the company’s larger goals.

The Case for a CGO-led Company

While some people want to write CGOs off as a marketing or “growth-hacking” trend, the truth is that CGO-led companies are outperforming CMO-led companies on a broad scale. Today, CGO-led companies are more likely to participate in mobile-focused, tech-heavy verticals than their competitors.

They’re also growing dominant marketing teams, spending more on advertising, and finding innovative ways to collect granular marketing data that helps them succeed in the long-term. While not every company will benefit from hiring a CGO, brands interested in driving rapid growth, implementing new tools, and investing in marketing tech will thrive under the guidance and expertise of a skilled CGO.