Representation Matters: CMO Edition

I've been doing some research on marketing influencers, since I aspire to move into the realm of speaking and writing about about marketing, and something seemed... a bit off. 

Let's start with some facts. Women make up the majority of our field.

  • 56% of advertising and promotions managers
  • 55% of marketing specialists
  • 55% of designers. 
  • 55% of technical writers

And in some other related areas, we have even larger majorities in the "sales and office workers", "media and communication workers", writers, editors, and sales professionals. 

And yet, the first page of results from a Google search paint a different landscape. The top ranked article for a search of "marketing influencers", the top ranked article list 4 women in their list of 25 top marketing influencers


The next article did better, and made it even. 5 women and 5 men listed as marketing influencers to follow in 2018, ranked neatly in pairs. Thank you, female writer! 

Marketing Insider Group named 3 women in their top influencer list 2018, our of 25. Forbes did a little better, listing 6 women on their 25 Marketing Influencers

You get the idea. 

Where are the women? Where are the people of color?

Then I scrolled down the list of occupations I mentioned above. Once the word "management" kicks, women drop to 45%. Chief Executives? 27%. Only 35% of businesses are women owned. 

Where are we? Are we not taking the credit? Are we spending time on everyone else instead of our personal brands while our male counterparts spend hours a day on top of their jobs creating content and giving interviews? Is it us? Or are we being buried?

It reminds me of a recent exchange I had with my boss about the head of marketing at another company similar to ours that I had visited. "I love Erin, she's so smart." I said. "Yes, she certainly has her opinions" was the reply. Would he have said that about a man?

I have no answers. Only dismay.

If anything, this has only fueled my fire to create a strong website with real talk marketing. How do I get better? How do I help female voices stand out more? How is this still a THING?

One woman stood out among the sea of men (there are others, of course, many others!). Ann Handley made almost everyone's list, and one minute on her website will tell you why. She is a bestselling author, an energetic speaker, and immediately has a warmth and charm about her that you would expect from an actress or art teacher. But she also knows her stuff. I am so excited to find a virtual mentor to look up to. We even have similar color schemes (was not intentional, I swear!). 

Follow Ann. That's one thing we can do for women today. 


But that's not all. It's important that we also highlight the voice of people of color and make marketing more diverse. Other than Neil Patel, the influencer lists I looked up were so very, very white. There are few mentioned, but no headshots or nice writeups to really help them stand out. Let's change that.

Follow Jennifer Polk of Gartner Research for marketing research and strategy content. And check out Bonin Bough's YouTube channel for some C-suite level wisdom and fun times.