Forbes ranks the top 50 most influential CMOs & finds 40% lead technology companies

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Forty percent of the marketing leaders who rank on Forbes’ 2017 list of the top 50 most influential CMOs belong to technology companies.

With telecommunications and internet organizations making up part of the tech sector per Forbes report, seven of the top ten CMOs were in tech, including the marketing leaders from HP Inc., Apple, GE, Twitter, Samsung Electronics America, Airbnb and Cisco.

The No. 1 most influential CMO was Keith Weed of Unilever. Also in the top ten were Ford Motor Company CMO Musa Tariq and Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar.

Although most would categorize Mastercard as a finance company, Rajamannar told Marketing Land during an interview last year that his organization was a tech company.

“We are a technology company that happens to be in the payment space,” said Rajamannar.

Forbes says it based its rankings on social media data. It analyzed things like the percentage of a brand’s audience taking action on branded content, and mentions of the CMO in relation to their brand across Twitter, blogs, websites and news stories. Forbes also looked at the CMO’s LinkedIn networks and how inter-connected the CMOs were within their marketing community.

Of the top 50 most influential CMOs, one in three were women. GE’s CMO Linda Boff ranked No. 4 — the top-ranking female CMO on the list — followed by Twitter CMO Leslie Berland at No. 5. Cisco’s Karen Walker ranked No. 10.

SAP’s Maggie Chan Jones, who ranked No. 15, is another marketing leader in the tech space. During her interview with Marketing Land, she says she recommends that any marketing leaders who may lack a technology background should always consider bringing their CIO into the fold.

“The stronger the alignment between the CMO and the CIO, the better the marketers can leverage the technology savviness from the IT side to help create business solutions,” says Jones.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

Be sure to read the following Marketing Land’s interviews and listen to our “Path to CMO” podcasts with the executives who made Forbes Top 50 Most Influential CMOs list this year:

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


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