A third of brands don’t have a marketer on the leadership team

Marketing has made great strides in finding a place on the leadership team – but still over a third of brands report not having a marketing director or CMO on the top table.

Marketers forever espouse the benefits of marketing having a seat at the table so it is disheartening to find that more than a third of brands do not have a marketer on the leadership team.

Marketing Week’s exclusive Career & Salary Survey 2024 shows just 34.7% of the more than 3,000 marketers surveyed say their company doesn’t include a marketing director or CMO on the leadership team.

This number climbs even higher in SMEs (businesses with less than 250 employees) where nearly half (48.8%) of companies don’t have a marketer on the leadership team.

The figure drops considerably at larger businesses, perhaps unsurprisingly, where less than a quarter of marketers (23.2%) say they have a marketing director or CMO on the leadership team.

It’s a problem, too, within B2B businesses where two-fifths (40.5%) of respondents say their leadership team doesn’t feature a marketing director or CMO, considerably more than in those businesses with a mixture of B2B and B2C (34.5%) or B2C (27.1%).

The language of the boardroom: What to say and what to avoidMore positive news, however, can be found in who is leading up the top marketing roles in businesses where a marketing director or CMO does sit on the leadership team.

Our survey shows that women are more likely than men (by 53.5% to 45.2%) to be on the leadership team and this is a figure that holds true in SMEs (54.9% to 45.1%), larger businesses (53% to 45.1%), B2B (55.5% to 43.5%), B2C (52% to 46.2%) and those with a mixture of B2B and B2C (52.9% to 45.9%).

It’s a promising sign for women being able to reach the most senior positions within a marketing department – amid a working climate that still sees women taking on more responsibilities for no increase in pay and a persistent gender pay gap.

As to when these leadership positions were created, the vast majority have been in place for over two years. The data shows that 60.2% of marketers who sit on the leadership team have been doing so for over two years, with just over a quarter (15.6%) starting in the past 12 months and 12.4% starting between one to two years.

It’s a trend that holds firm across B2B, B2C and those with a mixture of the two as well as in SMEs and larger businesses.

It is SMEs who are most likely to have appointed a marketing director or CMO to the leadership team in the last 12 months (22%) perhaps signalling a change in attitude towards marketing in smaller firms.

Marketing Week has written extensively about the importance of marketing having a voice at the leadership table, particularly when it comes to increasing marketing’s standing within the organisation, with former Debenhams CMO Abigail Comber telling us: “A sign of success by any marketer is if they get sponsorship around the boardroom table.”

Marketing Week has published a series of exclusive news and features based on the findings of the 2024 Career & Salary Survey. Click here to view everything we’ve published so far.