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Can CMOs and CFOs Get Along?

Overwhelming majority of CMOs and CFOs say it’s important to get along—and they do

As their job functions continue to require them to interact more, the majority of CMOs and CFOs have realized that getting along with one another is important, at least according to March 2014 polling conducted by Market Measurement for Active International, which found that more than three-quarters of US CMOs and CFOs felt the importance level of aligning together on major company decisions was high or extremely high.

And believe it or not, they were getting along, with 80% of CFOs saying they often or always agreed with CMOs when making major business decisions and 74% of CMOs saying the same about CFOs.

CMOs and CFOs may be getting along for the good of the company. When asked which topics they were most aligned on when making major business decisions, both groups ranked the “overall strategic direction of the business” as No. 1.

Of course, differences still existed, with Active International noting that the groups were least aligned when it came to making decisions about future marketing plans and priorities as well as future financial decisions—understandable, considering these are specific to each department and the other may not understand the importance.

CFOs aren’t the only ones in the C-suite who CMOs need to deal with—they’re increasingly working with CIOs as well. Fall 2013 research by PricewaterhouseCoopers asked business leaders in certain industries worldwide whether they believed that the working relationship between their CIO and CMO was strong and found that these two groups may be getting along less than CMOs and CFOs. Those in the power/utilities and hospitality/leisure industries felt the most positive about the relationship between their CIO and CMO, with 61% of respondents from each group saying so, while technology and industrial products professionals felt the least positive, at 46% and 43%, respectively.

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