CMO Sweet Spot: 5 CPG CMOs to Target Now

CMO Sweet Spot: 5 CPG CMOs to Target Now

Knowing when to approach a CMO is vital when it comes to pitching your services, especially if you’re an agency. If you can understand when CMOs are likely to rotate up or out of their roles, the likelihood of successfully introducing your business during their ‘time of need’ more than doubles.

According to our recent CMO Tenure Report, the sweet spot for engaging CMOs is within 3-12 months after beginning their role. During that time, we can expect agency reviews along with media vendor shifts to take place.

While our report surfaced data across multiple industries, we found that the CPG category made up the majority of our CMO tenures and highlighted one of the highest CMO churns, pointing to an average tenure of 37 months.

Intelligence like this can help agencies proactively target the right accounts at precisely the right time. This report pinpoints when CMOs are likely to rotate up and out of positions, so you know exactly when to approach a newly named CMO or go down the corporate ladder prior to their hiring. 

Depending on how quickly these industry CMOs are likely to rotate up or out allows you to refine your pitch understanding the timeline they are working under to launch campaigns and prove ROI.

If you know CPG CMOs are likely to move out at the 37-month mark, it’s smart to begin connecting with other internal stakeholders 6 months prior. Between then and when the new CMO is named offers a short window of opportunity to claim your spot in the AOR pitch early.

Example CPG  CMO Outreach Cadence:

So how do you know what CPG CMOs to start targeting now? That’s where Winmo comes in. In this article we’ve surfaced five CPG marketing executives that fit into this “CMO sweet spot” and who you should be targeting right now:  


Chris Wollen, former Droga5 CMO, was selected as Rivian’s new CMO effective at the end of 2018. So far, Rivian has only debuted two cars but hopes to eventually compete with Range Rovers and Land Rovers. The goal is to provide customers with the option to buy directly from the company with the freedom to go to auto dealers for service and support.

The first brand experience centers and retail stores will debut in 2020, with potential for partnerships with established dealerships. The leadership team is growing in an effort to support company growth as well.

Rivian has historically relied on social media engagement, but will likely launch into other digital spaces with new leadership. Droga5 won duties as the creative AOR for the company, so keep an eye out for upcoming campaigns. As you know, reviews tend to follow each other so the appointment of Droga5 suggests that opportunities for media/PR will become available shortly. When pitching, keep in mind the target audience consists mainly of males.

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The Kellogg company created a new position effective January, North American CMO, to combat struggles over the past years. Gail Harwood was promoted to the position after serving as SVP of integrated marketing. Prior experience includes her time as VP of worldwide digital strategy at Johnson & Johnson.

Although this is a promotion and not an outside hire, agency changes may still be imminent due to the fact that long term agency partners are not assisting in the effort to turn the company’s struggles around. Relationships include Leo Burnett as creative AOR and Starcom as media AOR, however, agency and martech readers are encouraged to reach out to help end the struggles.

Be sure to focus pitches on recent initiatives such as promoting inclusivity and building the brand as a whole. New product launches consist of better-for-you products in order to attract millennials. There’s been a shift for a heavier focus on national TV spend recently, and Kellogg’s typically operates through out-of-home, print, social media, experiential and radio along with significant spend going to print. Sellers have plenty of opportunities to get involved, particularly with recent spend increases and new product launches. Top spending periods are typically Q3 and Q4.

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Blue Nile 

Online diamond and fine jeweler Blue Nile hired Alexandra Wheeler as their new CMO, effective November. Wheeler’s previous positions include an 11-year tenure at Starbucks. Wheeler is not the only new hire with Blue Nile. Rounding out their executive team also includes new hires CEO Jason Goldberger and CFO Bill Koefoed. Lower-level marketing personnel hires have also contributed to the boost of revenue growth the company has seen recently.

The main focuses according to Koefoed include forming direct and tighter relationships with manufacturers and bolstering their technology in order to continue growth. Customer relationships will be a priority as well, so look for personalized marketing to become more prominent in their spend. Most dollars currently go to social media and digital. Spend continues to increase with their success, so sellers should keep Blue Nile top of mind and prepare to target their main demographic of millennials. Spend typically spikes during Q2 and Q4, so be sure to reach out for upcoming opportunities.

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The mobile clothing and accessory marketplace, Poshmark, selected Steven Tristan Young as it’s first CMO, effective October to lead the company in its next phase of growth. Young’s previous experience includes growth VP at GrubHub, and positions at DirectTV, American Express, Endurance International Group, and Puma. Young has a proven track record of scaling high-growth companies, perfect for Poshmark who was recently named one of Forbes’ Next Billion-Dollar Startups for 2018.

The highest channel of spend is typically TV, targeting mostly Gen-Z audiences. Digital display is also an area of focus and has grown significantly in the past year. Agency and martech readers are encouraged to reach out to the new hire to be involved in the rapid growth occurring at Poshmark.

Monster Energy 

After Mark Hall left the CMO position last May, Monster Energy has selected Dan McHugh as their new CMO, effective October. McHugh joins the team with quite a bit of experience in the beverage industry, including a 68-month tenure as CMO of Pabst Brewing Company and a 19-year career at Anheuser-Busch prior to that. Most of his background lies in brand marketing and sponsorships. In fact, Monster is predicted to lose its sponsorship agreement with NASCAR in spring of 2019, and their future partnerships are to be determined.

Along with sponsorship opportunities, a number of other personnel changes suggest a chance for digital work and project-based work available for agencies and adtech. Specifically, those with beverage experience should reach out. Remember when pitching to be creative with advertising strategies because based on their history, Monster will invest in sponsorships, experiential marketing, and fan engagement activations.

Being in the position for nearly six months now, McHugh lies right in the CMO sweet spot and we predict agency reviews and spending shifts on the horizon. Keep in mind the target demographic consists of men age 18-30, and spend is typically highest during Q4.

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Winmo helps agencies and media sellers track important decision-maker shifts like this every day. To start targeting CMOs based on their tenure, request a trial today.

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