The Fortune 100 League of Extraordinary Social CMOs (infographic)


 Many are calling 2011 the year of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).  I can assure you, it will not be called the year of the Social CMO.  In our analysis only 15 of the 143 CMO’s and Chief Communication Executives (CCO’s) in the Fortune 100 we studied have active Twitter Accounts.  Worse, 15% of them have a net zero social footprint (meaning no social activity).  

Yet in a survey by the MarketingSherpa team, Social Media budgets are expected to increase in 53% of the organisations surveyed.  

Moreover, “US marketers will spend $3.08 billion to advertise on social networking sites this year,” according to eMarketer. “Spending will be up 55% over the $1.99 billion advertisers devoted to social networks in 2010 and will rise by a further 27.7% next year to reach nearly $4 billion.” 

That is a tremendous amount of money to be spent by Marketing and Communication Chiefs. However if the Fortune 100 are any indication, the investment in Social is being led by a group of people that have remarkably little personal experience in Social Media and Social Networks. Does that make sense?

Fortunately, there are at least 20 executives in the Fortune 100 that understand social.   We’ve highlighted them here:



We created the top 20 Social CMO* guide using state of the art sentiment analysis technology from Lithium (formerly Scout labs) and social media metrics from HowSociable, Klout and Social Mention

I want to thank Henry Min for converting my research into an infographic.  He’s a genius, I recommend you get to know him. 

Why is this important?

We believe that as social media and content start to replace their traditional media counterparts; the companies listed above will gain a competitive advantage. In fact as we’ve experienced, social media is a differentiator that facilitates and accelerates word of mouth marketing. There’s nothing more valuable. 

It’s important to note that this is not an influence or popularity list. The list was created to highlight Chief Marketing and Communication Executives that are not only using social tools, but are being recognised by consumers as positive influencers on their brands.

What’s odd is that the majority of the Fortune 100 CMO/CCOs, either do not recognise the power of their Fortune 100 perch or are concerned about violating Sarbanes Oxley.  As a former section 16 officer myself, some of the concerns are founded, but most are an excuse not to engage. 

Note: David Mastroni from the Dachis Group does a terrific job of pacifying these concerns. I also recommend you follow Klint Finley from ReadWriteEnterprise for additional insights in this area. 

Our Closing Thoughts

The study’s results were somewhat surprising given the small percentage of executive level social media participation in the Fortune 100. As influential pundits like Dennis Howlett and Martijn Linssen have pointed out in the past, executives have still not embraced social business.

But marketers have always been taught to “go where their consumers are” and still the Fortune 100 Chiefs seem to be personally absent. The giant red flag here is that if the Chief Marketers and Communicators do not understand how social media can be part of an integrated marketing/communications strategy; then how will the rest of the organisation?

I asked Jas Dhillon of ThinkPassenger about his thoughts on the list.  Dhillon responded, “It appears based on your research that many of the CMO’s are saying ‘do as I say not as I do’.” It is hard to argue with him on that point. 

What’s clear however, are how Social Consumers are relying on their social networks and social media to make purchase decisions.  As more do, companies caught without a clear and effective social strategy from their leaders will become less competitive.

All signs point towards a massive shift in consumer behaviour from consumption of information from traditional media sources to information and content found in social media and networks. The goal then becomes one of  engagement with potential and current customers at all times. 

Unlike traditional media however, marketers can have real one-on-one discussions with their community by leveraging social media tools. This is an incredible advantage over those executives still relying on traditional, indirect ways of reaching their consumers.

But how would your CMO know?


The Top 20 on Twitter (those with Active Accounts)

Beth Comstock 

General Electric

Jon Iwata
IBM Mich Mathews
Barry Judge
Best Buy Philip Schiller
Blair Christie
Nikesh Arora
Google Karen Quintos
Sena Fitzmaurice
Bill Wohl
Hewlett Packard

*In some cases where we use the term CMO, we also are extending the term to include Heads and Chiefs of Communication.   To follow these trends like the SocialCMO on Facebook.

** Google was pushed into the Fortune 100 due to their recent growth so we included Nikesh Arora in our research


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