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Canadian CMOs Must Lead Disruptive Business Growth, Accenture Strategy
Study Finds

TORONTO; March 9, 2017 - Canadian organizations are misaligned on the role that marketing should play in driving disruptive growth initiatives, according to a new study from Accenture Strategy. Sixty-one percent of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) at Canadian organizations say they are responsible for leading disruptive business growth, but only 27 percent of CEOs agree. Given their unique position of being in direct line of customers, prospects and the wider market, business leaders must empower CMOs to take control of the disruptive growth agenda or risk losing customers to new, disruptive competitors.

The report – 'The C-level Disruptive Growth Opportunity' – is based on Accenture Strategy's annual CMO Insights research, which surveyed 535 CEOs and 847 CMOs from organizations around the world about the opportunities and challenges impacting business growth today. Fifty-five CEOs and 64 CMOs from 41 Canadian organizations were surveyed in the research.

"Marketing leaders are well positioned to drive the disruptive growth agenda – initiatives that include developing partnerships with digital start-ups, monetizing data, and expanding service models to deliver greater customer value. Without the unified growth efforts from across the business, Canadian companies risk losing customers to disruptive players who are delivering the experiences they want and expect," said Berkeley Warburton, managing director, Advanced Customer Strategy at Accenture Strategy. "CMOs need to refresh their data-driven agendas to translate the expanded array of customer insights into profit-producing actions. Otherwise, they may fail to maintain relevance among their customer base."

CEOs estimate that within the next two years, 45 percent of revenues will come from disruptive growth initiatives. However, the Accenture Strategy report highlights a lack of preparedness in turning this vision into a reality. Four in five CMOs (79 percent) say their organization is not prepared to exploit opportunities presented by digital marketing channels, 54 percent admit that they are not keeping pace with changing consumer behaviours, and 46 percent say they don't have sufficient support from their internal IT function.

Canadian CMOs can reach their potential and move into a disruptive growth role by:

  1. Aligning with IT – Greater alignment between marketing and IT is critical as technology underpins and shapes the entire customer experience. Eighty-one percent of Canadian CMOs acknowledge the need to do so, particularly as half (50 percent) say their team currently operates largely independent of IT. Organizations can benefit from joint training around emerging marketing technologies and platforms, creating an IT lead within marketing and a marketing lead within IT, and establishing a Chief Experience Officer position.

  2. Leveraging intelligent automation and integrating analytic capabilities – The ability to extract customer data into actionable insights must be part of every Canadian CMO's strategy. Sixty-nine percent of CMOs say their marketing teams are currently allocating 20 percent or less of their budget to analytics, and fewer than one in seven CEOs (13 percent) say that intelligent automation is important to front-office transformation across marketing, sales and service.

  3. Understanding the complexity of the change involved – More CEOs than CMOs see the marketing function fundamentally changing across a variety of areas over the course of the next five years, including how resources will be aligned, how the company will engage customers, and the role that analytics will play. Furthermore, CMOs were nearly 50 percent more likely than CEOs to say they believe that marketing will have direct accountability over a significant proportion of the company's revenue. To ensure the success of the marketing organization, CMOs must work with CEOs to arrive at a shared vision of the future and agree on marketing's role in it.

Please visit to read the full report. Join the conversation with @AccentureCanada, @AccentureStrat and #CMOInsights.

About the research

Accenture Strategy's 'The C-level Disruptive Growth Opportunity' report is based on its annual 'CMO Insights' research which identifies the opportunities and challenges impacting business growth today. The report surveyed 535 CEOs and 847 CMOs across five markets: North America, South America, Western Europe, Asia and South Pacific. The research covered 15 industry sectors: automotive; industrial equipment; life insurance; property & casualty insurance; media & entertainment; pharmaceuticals / biotechnology; life sciences medical products; retail; telecommunications; transportation & travel; banking; utilities; consumer goods & services; electronics & high tech; and energy. Most of the companies represented in the research have annual revenues of at least US$1 billion.

The Canadian sample comprised of 64 CMOs and 55 CEOs from 41 Canadian companies, representing 14 of the 15 industry sectors, with average annual revenues of at least CAD$ 14.2 billion.

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world's largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 394,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at

Accenture Strategy operates at the intersection of business and technology. We bring together our capabilities in business, technology, operations and function strategy to help our clients envision and execute industry-specific strategies that support enterprise wide transformation. Our focus on issues related to digital disruption, competitiveness, global operating models, talent and leadership help drive both efficiencies and growth. For more information, follow @AccentureStrat or visit

Theresa Ebden
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