The Vital Partnership Between CMOs and Marketing Capabilities Leaders

As companies look to improve marketing and overall business performance, many are looking to enhance their marketing capabilities. 

Marketing Capabilities programs include assessment of current capabilities, and the design and delivery of a marketing academy to meet the needs of the marketing team. 

In such projects, alignment between Marketing Capabilities Leaders and Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) is pivotal. 

This partnership forms the bedrock of an organization's marketing agility, innovation, and, ultimately, its competitive edge. 

Let's look at how these two roles can align to create a more effective marketing organisation. 


Understanding roles and responsibilities

At the core, CMOs are the visionaries. They chart the course, setting the strategic direction that aligns with broader business objectives.

Their remit includes overarching strategy, brand positioning, market penetration, and customer engagement.

Marketing Capabilities Leaders, on the other hand, are the architects and builders. They ensure the marketing team has the necessary skills, tools, and processes to bring the CMO's vision to life.

This involves assessing current capabilities, identifying gaps, and developing programs to enhance the team's competencies and effectiveness.

The diagram below lays out some of the key areas of responsibility. The dark blue areas show the responsibilities of the CMO and marketing team, from setting strategy to overall leadership. The enablement provided by the marketing team ensures that capabilities are embedded and can be put into practice.

The responsibilities of marketing capabilities leaders are indicated by the light blue areas, which mainly cover the assessment of current capabilities and the planning and delivery of the marketing academy. 


Aligning visions

For this partnership to flourish, alignment of visions is essential. Marketing Capabilities Leaders must have a deep understanding of the CMO's strategic objectives and how they dovetail with the company's goals.

This ensures that capability development programs are not just about upskilling for the sake of it, but are strategically designed to equip the team with the specific competencies needed to execute the CMO's vision effectively.

Bridging gaps through communication

Frequent and open communication forms the bridge between strategy and execution. Regular strategy sessions, where CMOs articulate their vision and Marketing Capabilities Leaders provide insights into the team's current capabilities and potential areas of improvement, are essential.

This reciprocal exchange ensures that the capability development initiatives are both relevant and aligned with the overall marketing strategy.

Co-creating the roadmap

The development of a marketing capabilities roadmap should be a collaborative effort.

While the CMO sets the strategic priorities, the Marketing Capabilities Leader translates these into actionable learning and development initiatives.

This could involve specialised training programs, adopting new technologies, or restructuring teams and workflows to enhance agility and efficiency. The roadmap should be a living document, adaptable to changing market dynamics and emerging opportunities.

Measuring success together

Accountability and measurement are critical to ensuring the effectiveness of capability development initiatives.

Together, the CMO and Marketing Capabilities Leader should define clear metrics and KPIs that align with both marketing objectives and capability enhancement goals. This dual focus ensures that capability development is not just about acquiring new skills but about driving tangible improvements in marketing performance and business outcomes.

Fostering a culture of continuous learning

Ultimately, the CMO and Marketing Capabilities Leader should jointly champion a culture of continuous learning and innovation within the marketing team.

We want marketing teams to discuss their learning, share key sources and useful content within their own teams, and across the wider business. 

By promoting an environment where experimentation, upskilling, and cross-functional collaboration are encouraged, they can ensure the marketing team remains agile, responsive, and primed for success in an ever-evolving marketplace.


Close alignment between Marketing Capabilities Leaders and CMOs is critical in navigating the complex and fast-paced world of modern marketing.

Through aligned visions, open communication, collaborative planning, and a shared commitment to continuous improvement, they can build a marketing team that has the skills required to drive overall marketing and business objectives. 

For more detail on this topic see our new guide, Marketing Capabilities Excellence: Developing & Delivering Your Marketing Capability Program & Academy.