The State of MarTech Report

There has never been a more exciting time to work in marketing and technology. The world was already digitising rapidly, but the pandemic has accelerated this digital transformation. Companies that have been forced to adapt to evolving customer behaviours to survive now have an opportunity to thrive.


What is a Chief Growth Officer?

Not too long ago I wrote about all of the various C-level roles at any given company and the list is frighteningly long.

It may seem like companies are making roles up for certain people, but you know, that's not going to stop them coming up with more.

With that, there's a new one. A new role in this rough and tumble world of business. What is it? It's a Chief Growth Officer, shortened to CGO... yeah it doesn't stand for Computer Generated Officer.

I've rambled enough...

What is a Chief Growth Officer?

A chief growth officer CGO is responsible for managing a company's growth, whether measured in terms of revenue or metrics like employee engagement. A CGO's role is to to collaborate, measure, and provide support for growth initiatives. They endeavour to reshape the organisation they work in, in order to stay ahead of buyer needs and interact with them.

A CGO works across teams and departments, fostering internal alignment and also focusing heavily on external marketing dynamics, customer needs and general buyer behaviour.

What skills does a Chief Growth Officer need?

Typically speaking, C-level employees don't really have cross-functional roles. They work in their respective fields and very rarely branch out. CGOs, however, will often work across the likes of marketing, sales, product and finance, all to ensure growth.

Naturally a CGO will mostly work in marketing, but the lines are definitely more blurred than they would be for a normal CMO. Because of this, a CGO needs to be experienced with and capable of dealing with the likes of sales, product, and finance.

Tom West, Chief Growth Officer of Affinipay, said of his role:

"It's about eliminating organizational silos to create a unified, longer-term growth plan. It's not about quarter to quarter, it's about thinking ahead to the next three, five, 10 years".

Do we really need CGOs?

Much can depend on the size of the company. Often, the CGO position is best suited to small to mid-sized companies where this is potential for growth, and this role can take them to the next stage. 

In smaller companies, CGOs can identify opportunities for growth, something which can be harder in larger firms. 

Often CGOs are taking roles that would normally belong to the CMO, thanks to their remit that allows them to cut through red tape and work across departments, and bypassing the hierarchical restrictions which can affect similar roles. 

By aligning departments, CGOs will save time by making sure certain tasks and processes aren't needlessly repeated, and that best practises are shared and evolved.

Do I need to hire someone new?

The way that the likes of Gartner, and McKinsey & Company see it, CGO is very much the future - or evolution - of your classic CMO. Not that CMO's are a thing of the past, but it's likely that CMOs will reposition in their current companies. CGOs will have to redefine the way a business conducts its marketing activities, alongside the usual CMO jobs or carving out the "voice of the customer" and responding to changes in the marketplace.

All in all, you don't need to hire someone new for the CGO role in your company; it's more of a slow restructuring of the operations of where you work.