What do credit union chief executive officers want from their chief marketing officers (or the person leading their marketing efforts)? That is a burning question Jeff Rendel sought to answer. He presented his findings at CUNA’s Marketing & Business Development Certification School (which if you have not attended is a “must do” event for every credit union marketer or business development person).

As part of his research, Rendel received over 400 responses from credit union CEOs.

“Talent is overrated,” Rendel said. “The responses showed that 61% of CEOs are not satisfied with the innovation shown by their CMOs and 53% of CEOs feel they aren’t getting the strategic thinking they need from marketing.” He went on to note that 47% of CEOs are unsatisfied with the level of agility demonstrated by their CMOs and 51% of CEOs are looking for better member insights from their marketing leaders.

So what do CEOs really want from their marketing team? According to Rendel, four traits were paramount:

  • Innovation
  • Strategic thinking
  • Agility
  • Member insights

“Marketers must keep up with the pace of change,” Rendel noted. “What impresses the CEO is when the marketer thinks more strategically and delivers bottom line results.”

Through his interviews and responses, Rendel offered the new CMO job description:

  • Member intelligence expertise—know what members want
  • Help drive the business strategy—have strategic thinking across all disciplines
  • Forward thinker—ability to create the future
  • Teamwork—collaborate and involve other departments
  • Agility—keep an open mind and respond quickly
  • Business growth—have an ability to generate and grow profitable sales revenue

Rendel added the following list of items that REALLY impress the CEO:

  • Delivering the impossible
  • Leading change; being uncomfortable with comfortable
  • Aligning marketing with strategy
  • Leveraging digital and data for growth

Impressing your CEO is not about designing a really cool looking brochure or newsletter. It’s about thinking strategically, focusing on the member and delivering results.