Gender diversity has long been an issue in marketing – especially in executive positions. Men have largely dominated the industry, and women have struggled to break in and advance their careers.
This disparity won’t be solved overnight, but there are signs of progress.
In 2012, a study by Grant Thornton found that only 8% of CMOs were female. Two years later, CMO.com reported that number as 19%. In fact, women’s influence in marketing continues to grow. Just last year, IBM named Michelle Peluso as its first-ever CMO, and Nascar named Jill Gregory as its first female CMO.
While women are still underrepresented in the industry, those who’ve made it to the top have found success and made their voices heard.
In a new report by Forbes and Sprinklr, we identify The World’s 50 Most Influential CMOs – one-third of whom are women. These leaders stand out because of their impact on their internal organizations, brand perceptions, and social networks.
Here are the three most influential female CMOs – and a look at their groundbreaking work.
As CMO of GE since 2015, Linda Boff has been tasked with bringing a 125-year-old brand into the 21st century. That’s why she’s launched notable content campaigns like Drone Week during the 2016 Olympics.
For five days, drones streamed live, behind-the-scenes footage showcasing how GE technology helped power the big games.
“Innovation, technology, and progress have been in our DNA for 124 years. We try hard to reach both core and new audiences in ways that underscore that,” Boff said of GE’s content efforts. “We are pretty disruptive in the way we approach the media.”
In her first year as CMO, Leslie Berland took on a major challenge: rebranding Twitter from a social network to a news platform. This shift helped reach new users who’d previously thought of the Twitter as simply a place to reach family and friends.
The corresponding campaign featured social posts, billboards, commercials and influencer partnerships that solidified Twitter’s role as a network for breaking news and real-time conversation.
— Twitter (@Twitter) July 25, 2016
By tackling this challenge right out of the gate, Berland drew widespread praise for addressing a core obstacle to the growth of the brand – while branding herself as a CMO to watch.
Karen Walker became CMO of Cisco in 2015, and has since championed a new slogan for the company: “There’s never been a time.” This communicates the idea that digital disruption can drive positive change – and that Cisco is on the front lines of that change.
Through a multi-platform campaign, Cisco shared real stories of how its technology saves lives, makes cities smarter, and delivers resources to those in need.
“We are technology optimists,” Walker wrote on the company’s blog. “For 30 years our goal has been to change the way people work, live, play and learn. Now it’s time for us to step forward with a new message of optimism and to share it in a bold and different way.”
As a result, her campaign drove 3.5x more digital engagement than Cisco’s previous campaign.
As top influencers, these women have transformed their brands and redefined what it means to be a marketing leader. They’ve also pushed the boundaries of social engagement, delivering innovative customer experiences across channels.
Still, they’re not the only ones making their mark. The World’s 50 Most Influential CMOs report highlights the accomplishments of 18 outstanding women in the industry.
From Maggie Chan Jones of SAP to Michelle Peluso of IBM, these executives continue to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and help shape the modern marketing world as we know it.
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