10 Topics the World’s Most Influential CMOs Can’t Stop Talking About

September 15, 2016 Marcus Varner

Wouldn’t it be great if someone would analyze news outlets, blogs, and social media to pinpoint the top marketing trends that today’s biggest influencers are talking about?

Someone has.

Forbes teamed up with ScribbleLIVE and Linked in to first identify and recognize “the marketing leaders who have established themselves by publishing and sharing opinions that travel and generate significant reactions,” and then analyze more than 100 million pieces of content that they collectively shared in 2015.

The result is a list of 50 CMOs (or equivalently titled individuals) you should probably be paying attention to, plus 10 essential topics that should definitely be on your radar.

The world’s most influential CMOs come primarily from the auto, tech, consumer packaged goods, and financial services industries. And 20% of top-tier CMOs happen to be named Kevin.

The top ten players are:

  1. Phil Schiller of Apple: Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing
  2. Kevin Hochman of Yum! Brands: Chief Marketing Officer, KFC US
  3. Kevin Crull of Sprint: Chief Marketing Officer
  4. Olivier Francois of Fiat Chrysler: Chief Marketing Officer and Head of the Fiat brand
  5. Beth Comstock of General Electric: Vice Chair
  6. Scott Moffitt (formerly) of Nintendo North America: EVP of Sales and Marketing
  7. Geoff Morrell of BP America Inc.: Senior VP and Head of US Communications and External Affairs
  8. Martine Reardon (formerly) of Macy’s: Chief Marketing Officer
  9. Keith Weed of Unilever: Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
  10. Alain Visser of Volvo: Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service

Hyperlinks will take you to the influencer’s Twitter feed, when available. You might be the 153rd follower for some influencers, or the 210,001st follower for another.


What are the Who’s Who Talking About?

Not surprisingly, Content Marketing came in number one, with 23,937 mentions. Bringing up the rear is Marketing Organization, with just 2,941 mentions. Those two topics are obviously applicable to almost every marketer.

But what about “The Internet of Things” and “Ad Blocking”—is it really important for everyone to pay attention to those? Helpfully, the ProofHQ blog tackled the top ten topics for you, one by one, offering definitions and explanations. The article concludes:  

“If you’re working at a small-time marketing firm that hasn’t even considered stepping foot into the global market, it might seem irrelevant what Phil Schiller, the SVP of Worldwide Marketing for Apple, or Beth Comstock, new Vice Chair of General Electric, are talking about. But if these topics are important to 50 of the most influential CMOs in the world, the rest of us mere marketing mortals should probably be paying attention.”


Start Talking

We’re just a few months away from the release of the 2016 list of most influential CMOs—and the topics they can’t stop talking about. We predict that Content Marketing will maintain its number one position, and that we’ll see significant turnover in the list of influencers

In the meantime, brush up on the influencers of today and get acquainted with the topics they’re passionate about. In his reaction piece, Kyle Harper summed up this study’s importance well:

“Regardless of your industry, there’s plenty of insight to be drawn from the list—from profiles on your industry’s leaders, to breakdowns of what Twitter handles the most successful CMOs follow, to a list of rising stars who may be climbing the ranks with innovative techniques that could help you and your brand. But regardless of industry, experience, or accomplishment, content continues to remain at the center of it all.”

Find the Fourth Annual “World’s 50 Most Influential CMOs” here.


About the Author

Marcus Varner

Marcus is a content strategist and producer who loves helping brands craft content that improves customers' lives, builds brand credibility, and demands to be shared. For the last 10 years, Marcus has worked in every type of content—from writing to video production to design—and is currently a senior content marketing manager at Workfront, where he oversees all corporate- and awareness-level level content. When he's not producing content, he's consuming it, in the form of books, movies, and podcasts.

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