The role of the CEO in the marketing strategy
How CEOs influence marketing on many levels
Today, marketing is far more than just a “nice extra”. It is an elementary component of corporate strategy and plays a decisive role in achieving corporate goals. The role of the CEO in modern marketing strategy is complex and encompasses various aspects and fields of activity.
The CEO plays a key role in aligning and implementing the marketing strategy, ensuring that it is in line with the company’s objectives and contributes to their achievement. According to a McKinsey study, 83% of global CEOs recognize marketing as a potential growth driver¹. This is not just about an isolated marketing department, but a company-wide involvement ranging from sales and product innovation to finance and HR.
CEO as brand ambassador and communicator
The CEO can act as a brand ambassador, shape the corporate culture and embody the company’s values. Some CEOs even personally take on central marketing and communication tasks in order to emphasize their importance.
Ultimately, the CEO’s communication has a significant impact on company and brand perception. A clear and effective communication strategy is therefore essential. CEOs must be able to communicate and negotiate effectively with different stakeholders.
- Coherence between activities and messages
- Communicating the vision internally and externally
CEO as decision maker
In the past, marketing was often seen as a downstream process, primarily concerned with advertising and sales promotion. But in today’s increasingly networked and competitive world, it is essential to integrate marketing into the corporate strategy from the outset. Especially for old-school CEOs – where the production and operation of the company was central – this fact needs to sink in.
In addition, the CEO plays a central role in selecting and managing the marketing team, hiring the right people for key positions and ensuring that they meet the standards set.
- Data-driven decisions
- Looking at products and services from a marketing perspective
- Use MVPs to test the market
- Recognizing market opportunities
CEO as a visionary
The CEO must act as the architect of the company’s vision, seeing marketing as a tool to realize that vision. He understands how brand values and customer experience are intertwined and ensures coherence between these areas. He sees beyond the horizon and recognizes opportunities that remain hidden to others. Through their imagination and strategic foresight, they define how the company should be perceived in the market.
- Strategic foresight
- Shaping the corporate vision
- Integration of the vision into the marketing strategy
- Imagination and innovative strength
- Promoting a culture of innovation
CEO as marketing goal setter
The CEO is not only a visionary, but also a decisive goal-setter who clearly defines and communicates the company’s strategic goals. In the role of goal-setter, the CEO sets measurable and achievable goals that are in line with the company’s overarching vision.
- Corporate and brand positioning
- Customer experience
- Data analytics
Steve Jobs as an example of a CEO who played a core role in marketing
Steve Jobs was a pioneer in the field of marketing and understood the importance of a strong brand and exceptional customer experiences. His creative marketing approaches have been instrumental in shaping the way we view branding and customer experience today.
Examples of Steve Jobs’ approaches:
- Jobs made a point of emphasizing the emotional experiences and feelings that Apple products evoke, rather than focusing on technical details. He sold visions, not just products.
- He turned product releases into spectacular events that created excitement and expectations among the public.
- Jobs had a talent for spinning stories and communicating complex concepts clearly and simply.
- Jobs believed that marketing should be integrated into all areas of the company, from product design to customer service, and must be supported by every employee.
- He emphasized the importance of simplicity and design in Apple’s marketing strategy and specialized in transforming complex technologies into user-friendly, appealing products.
Steve Jobs’ success can be attributed to several factors relating to both his leadership skills and his perspective on marketing and branding. Jobs combined technical knowledge, entrepreneurial vision, psychological flair and creative energy in a way that made him one of the most influential personalities in the history of technology and marketing:
- Visionary thinker in terms of customer needs and questioning the status quo
- Perfectionism and attention to detail in product and design
- Integration between marketing and development merged
- He had a lot of emotional intelligence and created emotional connections between the target group and the products
- Ideas were packaged in stories
- His leadership was charismatic, inspiring and demanding
- Customer orientation and anticipation of needs