5 Reasons Why EQ-Focused CMOs are the Future of Marketing

5 Reasons Why Eq-focused Cmos Are The  Future Of Marketing

The Growing Importance of Marketing with Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Why IQ is Quickly Taking a Back Seat

The World Economic Forum report predicts that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) will become one of the top ten skills for employees by 2020. So with CMO’s having the shortest average C-Suite life-span, it’s a huge indicator of the next important opportunity for development.

Most of the corporate world is in agreement on the importance of EQ. But few know how to map it out tactically and apply the “soft skill” structurally. Teams today are working harder than they are smarter and it’s starting to show. This is where the EQ-CMO comes in.

The definition of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, to recognize and manage the emotions of others, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

eq-focused CMO - Olivia Hart - Chameleon Collective

A study in Deloitte’s 2018 CMO survey concluded that “Only 32 percent of marketers feel prepared to impact market share.” This is a shocking statement considering that that is exactly one of the key job objectives for someone who is the head of marketing. In other words, to make a market impact as an organization, you must show differentiation from competitors, build brand loyalty and be able to directly impact revenue.

Why wouldn’t a marketer feel prepared? Automation, data, personalization and the myriad of communication mediums and tools to reach and convert people is at an all time high. Marketers are, hopefully, already maximizing their partnerships strategically (and thus actionable knowledge) with the Head of Sales, Product, CIO, CFO, HR and other departments crucial to growth. But, these things are typically a requirement based on your average job description for any CMO or Head of Marketing.

So, what is missing? Why would almost 70% of marketers feel unprepared or overwhelmed?

Because marketers have been developing skill-sets that are quickly becoming automated, antiquated or tactics easily replicable or accessible to competitors.

Let’s quickly review the evolution of the role of a Chief Marketing Officer:

·      Pre-tech boom: Traditional marketing rests on a foundation of creativity and branding – and martinis and mad men

·      Post-tech boom: Modern marketer must now have financial acumen, data and analytics expertise, or a close partnership with the CIO – and then enters the age of burnout, where you must be proficient in everything

·      The Future boom:

”The successful marketer of the future is the one that can do well, what machines cannot.”


#1: Why the EQ-Focused CMO is the Future of Marketing: The X-factor that separates the marketers of the future with the marketers of today is EQ. It is the main thing (for now anyway…) that humans can do better than machines.

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation has brought a tremendous amount of benefits, there are other factors to consider.

Stats on AI:

·      800 million jobs worldwide will be lost to automation within the decade – that’s 16% of the world’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) workforce (Mckinsey)

·      55% of CMOs expect AI to have a greater impact on marketing and communications than social media ever has (CMO report)

·      80% of companies surveyed already use or plan to implement chat bots by 2020 (Oracle)

·      50% of 3500 marketers surveyed are using AI now (Salesforce)

As illustrated above; a majority of marketers are leveraging AI and automation. However, that technology has been replacing human functions for a while, and as it becomes more easily accessible for everyone. As a result, it will not be enough to differentiate you and your company.

#2: Why the EQ-Focused CMO is the Future of Marketing: It is imperative when it comes to competitive differentiation and brand longevity.

Automation makes it too easy to generalize messaging or create impersonal experiences. Furthermore, marketplace competition is exponentially on the rise, working to gain the attention of customers and talent you are targeting. Just check out any of these Lumascapes to see the dizzying amount of logos fighting for the eyes and ears of your desired target.

Stats on Brand Loyalty and Personalization:

·      67% of consumers think their favorite brands don’t understand them and that they have irrelevant messaging and content (Reuters)

·      85% of marketers surveyed say their audience segments are too broad (Impact bnd)

·      33% say that have limited to no capability to personalize marketing messages (Impact bnd)

·     76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations (Salesforce)

·     86% of customers will pay up to 25% more for a better experience (Forbes)

·     84% of customers say being treated like a person, and not a number, is important to gain their business (Salesforce)

·     50% of all consumers want a customized experience (Adweek)

·   75% of buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions by 2020 (Salesforce)

Similarly to the individual, customers want to feel “known” and as having respect. Thusly, striking the right balance between personalization and privacy is key to customer loyalty (Adobe Experience Index). This is basic human nature and isn’t going to plateau anytime soon. High expectations in customer service and personalization will continue to rise. Thus, the fight for brand loyalty will just get harder, and harder.

#3: Why the EQ-Focused CMO is the Future of Marketing: It’s becoming more and more about relationships, communication, and strategic thinking

If leaders don’t identify, understand or manage their emotions, and the emotions of those around them, how will one effectively know what to distill, and what actions to take (or not take)? Progressive thinking is fighting against millions of years of programming.

Stats on the Science Behind Rational Thinking and Communicating:

·      Our collective 5 senses take in 11 million bits of information per second. But, we can only consciously process 40 of them (Forbes)

·      The neocortex (the modern, cognitive, conscious part of the brain necessary for strategic thinking) can only process 24 possible interrelationships. Therefore, this is defined as the ways in which each of two or more things can relate to the others (Harvard.edu)

·      The amygdala (or primal, reptilian brain is responsible for survival and emotional centers) responds 100x faster than the neocortex (Harvard.edu)

·      On average, when the primal brain triggers itself, reason and logic drop by 75%. It can then take up to 20 minutes to recover (New York Times)

In other words, when emotions, fears, threats, etc., are triggered, it is difficult for the brain to map strategically for more than 2 interrelationships. That’s a big difference from 24. The brain then falls back on its’ subconscious’ “survival” mechanisms. These do not serve multi-dimensional communication, collaboration, and strategic thinking, as illustrated in the following statistics.

Relational and Communication Effectiveness in Leadership stats:

·      Only 4-7% of leaders are considered skilled at strategic thinking (Center for Creative Leadership)

·      86 percent of employees and executives cited a “lack of collaboration” or “ineffective communication” as the major source of most workplace failures (Clear Company study)

·      91% of employees surveyed said the critical skill their leaders lack is communication (Interact/Harris Poll)

·      69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with employees (Interact study)

·      37% of managers have a hard time giving negative performance feedback and dealing with emotional responses (Interact study)

·      50% of employees leave their companies because of their boss. It’s not just because of the job or the company (Gallup Research)

·      78% of leaders have difficulty understanding the consequences of and effectively articulating the requirements to thrive in the changing marketplace (Forbes)

This isn’t just limited to leadership and marketing teams. 57% of all sales professionals miss their quotas. (Forbes)

Thinking from the perspective of others, and ways to effectively communicate and build relationships can become almost impossible. Without awareness, training, and practice it can be a challenge.

#4. Why the EQ-Focused CMO is the Future of Marketing: It is necessary for personal career trajectory and longevity.

By 2030, 800 million jobs worldwide will be lost to automation. Therefore, this reality is why many companies are rushing to train for EQ and include it in their hiring/promotion process:

Stats on EQ and HR (Mitrefinch):

·      82% of global companies now utilize EQ tests for executive positions

·      72% of companies give the EQ test to middle management

·      59% of companies give the EQ test to entry-level positions

·      75% of employers said they’re more likely to promote the high EQ worker

·      59% percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EQ

·      90% of Fortune 500 leaders fail because they lack the interpersonal skills that are a critical component of emotional intelligence.” (Stanford University)

“EQ has twice the power of IQ to predict performance. EQ is also a better predictor than employee skill, knowledge, or expertise” (academia.edu)

CMOs of the future have to be hyper-communicative, acting tactically from 10 feet and strategy from 30,000 feet. They have to be multi-dimensional, empathetic and constantly asking the right questions of themselves and those around them.

#5: Why the EQ-Focused CMO is the Future of Marketing: It’s a differentiator for the top and bottom line.

EQ Bottom and Top-Line Impact Stats and Examples: (academia.edu)

·      Pepsico: Executives selected for EQ competencies generated 10% more productivity

·      L’Oreal: High EQ sales people produced $2.5 million more in sales

·      Sheraton: An EQ initiative increased market shares by 24%

·      Airforce: Using EQ to screen pararescue jumpers has saved $190 million (academia.edu)

·      A multinational consulting firm: Employees scoring above average brought in $1.2 million more in profit (139% incremental gain)

·      A national insurance company: An assessment found that their weak EQ employees sold HALF as many premiums as their strong EQ employees

·      Sanofi (French Pharma Company): Focused on the EQ skills of their sales force, resulting in 12% annual boost (“Sales Performance Through Emotional Intelligence Development,” Organizations and People, 2007)

 ·     Motorola: Experienced 90% productivity increase in manufacturing plant staff after EQ training (Harvard Business Review)

These are huge results.

So, why do so few companies take the time and apply the money-saving aspect of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in marketing, instead of increasing automation tools and ad-spend, or other “science of marketing” tactics? Why is applied EQ so tricky to adopt when it is clear it is necessary to stay competitive?

To put it simply; it’s hard.

Therefore, it takes a significant amount of self-awareness, dedication, empathy, and energy to mental map around what is called the “perception gap” and distills the best strategic decisions. It requires vulnerability (exhausting for those type A’s and control freaks) and effective emotional boundaries (holler at the people-pleasers and empaths out there).

Self-awareness is the knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, fears, ego, and desires and how they impact your perceptions, decisions, and actions. Studies show that of those tested who believe they are self-aware, only 10-15% actually fit the criteria. That’s staggering.

It’s difficult because it requires diligently asking “why and how” and relentlessly challenging your lens of perception that has been formed by your unique circumstances, experiences, subconscious bias and general preferences. For marketers, it means this concept of mental mapping is multiplied by the mass of people you are trying to influence and not just one’s self.

Want to know the end of the story? Marketers (and organizations) without a focus on EQ will go extinct. However, there is still hope to flexing and strengthening your EQ muscle.

·      Take EQ tests to gain self-awareness – get curious and ask for feedback

·      Hire employees with EQ, adaptability and willingness to learn

·      Encourage company-wide trainings on applied EQ

·      Find an empowering Emotional Intelligence (EQ) coach that can open your eyes to your blind spots, self-awareness and subconscious bias hindering areas of your personal and professional growth

·      Filter your marketing and communications through an EQ lens to increase adoption and conversion

·      Map specific EQ tactics into your goals and roadmaps, making it actionable and quantifiable

And lastly, as my grandmother (who helped shaped my development in EQ), would say, “The faster you adopt change, the better.” In addition, Darwin put it this way:

Interested in discussing the topic more? Looking for resources, consulting or training? Please comment below or reach out to me at [email protected].

A vibrant graphic with the phrase "OH SHIP!" in large, colorful letters. The letter "O" is designed to look like a ship's porthole, and a seagull perches on the letter "H." The background features shades of blue, reminiscent of the sea—perfect imagery for your blog archive.

Never Miss 

another Show!

“Oh Ship!” is about celebrating the failures, sharing those stories, learning, and laughing along the way.

Our Approach

Our Practices