Chief Marketing Officers in the consumer goods industry built titan reputations pioneering masterful brand building. They outshone all other industries at making brands part of consumers’ everyday lives. But this very legacy could be their downfall.

Consumer goods CMOs still excel at the traditional marketing tasks that won them consumers years ago. But CMOs are over-indexing on these operational excellence tasks at the expense of their future: new growth. This, despite CEOs prioritizing that very thing.

Consumer goods CMOs must move beyond “brilliant basics” and pivot to the New to become a Living Business. This means leading their teams to become experience-marketing organizations, in which traditional digital marketing is necessary but not sufficient on its own.

Consumer goods CMOs are more concerned with identifying new sources of revenue growth than any other industry. However, many are spending less time on disruptive growth than they did two years ago. It’s not from lack of trying. It’s competing priorities—the old and the New.


of consumer goods CEOs hold their CMO responsible for generating disruptive growth.


of large consumer goods company CMOs cite a lack of critical technology and tools as a top barrier to improving performance—that’s 16 percent more than the average across industries.


of CMOs say they don’t have a culture that inspires innovation or experimentation.


of CMOs say they are unable to develop the more agile organization and operating model required in today’s fast-changing environment. That’s 12 percent more than other industry CMOs, on average.

Become a Living Business

To move to the New, CMOs must succeed in freeing themselves from historical day to-day demands to focus on new ways to create value for their company. This means emphasizing new ways of collaboration like platform plays and silo busting, as well as wise use of technologies, from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analytics. Using all of these tactics, CMOs move their organizations closer to consumer relevance at scale.

Identifying and integrating transformative approaches to generate new revenue growth is where future titan reputations will be built. To get there, consumer goods CMOs need to become Living Businesses and move beyond the brilliant basics of marketing to help secure their companies’ future success.

Consumer goods CMOs are more concerned with identifying new sources of revenue growth than any other industry.

Doing different vs. doing better

Our study shows consumer goods CMOs are less likely than their peers in other industries to seek new sources of revenue. This does not happen because they are any less enlightened than CMOs in other industries, but more because traditional demands on their time can be all encompassing. When we asked consumer goods CMOs what their top priority was, it was reducing the cost of marketing operations, not innovation. CMOs focusing on innovation know they need to make products and services relevant to their consumers and then scale that relevance.

Investigating and investing to move into the New is no small task. CMOs are struggling to juggle the old and the New, at the expense of the New. Because they are trying to do something different, rather than the same things better, the juggling act is complex. Getting the balance right, until the New completely overtakes the legacy, is key to success. The New does provide a wealth of opportunity. But to capitalize on that opportunity, consumer goods CMOs need an updated toolbelt.

You can’t drive a nail with a screwdriver

New marketing models require tools fit for the task. Many consumer goods CMOs are using legacy systems and processes that are dated and won’t drive new growth. Technology plays a large role in the agility that defines the New—the same agility that defines large companies’ smaller, digitally native competitors. As CMOs try to get closer to the consumer, they will need the technology, but also the talent, to make it happen. Breaking down siloes across the organization is crucial.

While transforming an entire marketing organization for the New is no small task, CMOs who embrace Living Business principles and focus their efforts in several key areas can maximize their traction:

Work an agenda centered on growth

Companies that want to become true Living Businesses must always be transforming themselves. CMOs need to work across the organization, adjust their operating model and shape a customer-centric culture.

Go beyond traditional marketing

AI, analytics and other technologies help CMOs break up with old legacy technologies, operate in a new model and identify new outcomes tailored to customers.

Reimagine roles and ways of working

Skills and roles must reflect the shift from the old to the New. Infusing new skills will require upskilling for new talent and CMOs to establish closer connections to the customer.

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About the research

A combination of online surveys and interviews, this Accenture research is based on the responses of 935 CMO and 564 CEO participants across industries, including 116 executives from Consumer Packaged Goods companies.

About the Authors

Marcello Dalla Costa

CPG Practice Lead, Managing Director – Customer Insight and Growth

Nicholas Diamond

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy

Renee Sang

Managing Director – Consumer Goods & Services

Nevine El-Warraky

Managing Director – Interactive, Marketing Advisory


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