Forbes ranks the top 50 most influential CMOs, finds 40% lead technology companies

One in three of the CMOs to rank on Forbes' list were women.

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Forty percent of the marketing leaders who rank on Forbes’ 2017 list of the top 50 most influential CMOs belong to technology companies.

With telecommunications and internet organizations making up part of the tech sector per Forbes report, seven of the top 10 CMOs were in tech, including the marketing leaders from HP Inc., Apple, GE, Twitter, Samsung Electronics America, Airbnb and Cisco.

The No. 1 most influential CMO was Keith Weed of Unilever. Also in the top 10 were Ford Motor Company CMO Musa Tariq and Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar.

Although most would categorize Mastercard as a finance company, Rajamannar told Marketing Land in an interview last year that his organization was a tech company.

“We are a technology company that happens to be in the payment space,” said Rajamannar.

Forbes says it based its rankings on social media data. It analyzed things like the percentage of a brand’s audience taking action on branded content and mentions of the CMO in relation to their brand across Twitter, blogs, websites and news stories. Forbes also looked at the CMO’s LinkedIn networks and how interconnected the CMOs were within their marketing community.

Of the top 50 most influential CMOs, one in three were women. GE’s CMO Linda Boff ranked No. 4 — the top-ranking female CMO on the list — followed by Twitter CMO Leslie Berland at No. 5. Cisco’s Karen Walker ranked No. 10.

SAP’s Maggie Chan Jones, who ranked No. 15, is another marketing leader in the tech space. During her interview with Marketing Land, she says she recommends that any marketing leaders who may lack a technology background should always consider bringing their CIO into the fold.

“The stronger the alignment between the CMO and the CIO, the better the marketers can leverage the technology savviness from the IT side to help create business solutions,” says Jones.

Forty-five of Forbes top 50 most influential CMOs have Twitter accounts, and 49 are active on LinkedIn. According to Forbes, the CMOs who ranked as most influential had twice as many LinkedIn connections as other CMOs, and two-and-a-half times as many Twitter followers.

The top-ranking CMOs also tweeted twice as often as the average big-brand CMO. Forbes says its influential CMOs tweeted an average of once a day, while other less influentialCMOs from top brands tweeted less than once every two days.

“A large audience closely following every move, tweet, or status update is virtually standard-issue for tech CMOs,” says Forbes, “It also incentivizes companies to promote or recruit executives who bring a breadth of digital knowledge to the table.”

You can find the full report, along with bios on each of the top 50 CMOs to make Forbes list, here: The World’s Most Influential CMOs in 2017.

Also, check out the following interviews and podcasts with CMOs who made this year’s list on our partner site at Marketing Land:

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Amy Gesenhues
Amy Gesenhues was a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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