Transmission Elevates The B2B CMO in the Boardroom

professional services

CMOs are underrepresented on boards—why?

The role of the CMO in B2B companies has evolved significantly in an era championing crossfunctional collaboration. However, a glaring gap remains in board representation for CMOs. Less than 3% of public board members possess a marketing background. NewtonX, the leading B2B market research company, and Transmission, the premier B2B marketing agency, explored this challenge through their groundbreaking report— “Building the Board Ready CMO in B2B”—and devised a framework to increase CMO presence on boards.

Market research insights

We created an evidence-backed framework with insights from 320+ CMOs and 6 board members

Our goal was to understand how CMOs are perceived by boards and why CMOs in B2B organizations often lack board presence—and to provide guidance for CMOs to secure board positions commensurate with their expanded responsibilities. Our approach entailed two steps.

First, we conducted interviews from two viewpoints. This enabled us to create an evidence-backed framework for the board-ready CMO.

  • Board Directors: we interviewed six executive and non-executive board directors from both public and private B2B boards, all actively involved in selecting new members.
  • B2B CMO Board Members: we interviewed twelve CMOs from B2B organizations, either currently serving on corporate boards or with previous board experience.

Then, we gauged CMOs’ proficiency across the eight building blocks outlined in the Board-Readiness Framework.

  • We surveyed 320 B2B CMOs from enterprise organizations (500-5000+ employees) spanning various industries, and we scored them based on the framework. These scores were consolidated to offer a comprehensive assessment of current board readiness among B2B CMOs, spotlighting areas of strength and those requiring development over the next 12-18 months.

CMOs and 6 board members interviewed and surveyed

At Transmission, we’re deeply invested in the success of B2B marketing leaders. We quickly realized there was a natural fit for partnership because NewtonX specializes exclusively in B2B research and insights, and together we could tell this story with an insights-first approach. With this proprietary research, marketing leaders can position themselves for success with the board and throughout their organizations.

Vanessa Cheal
Transmission Head of Brand Services and Creative Planning, EMEA


Respondent quality

We published the playbook for CMOs to join winning boards of the future

Transmission and NewtonX

Presented at the 2024 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the “Building the Board Ready CMO in B2B” report by NewtonX and Transmission not only sheds light on the underrepresentation of CMOs in boardrooms but also provides a roadmap for CMOs to overcome these barriers. The insights from the research empower marketing leaders to position themselves effectively, whether aspiring to board seats or excelling in their executive roles.

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