In a highly-competitive and digitally-driven marketplace, companies can no longer take growth as a given. A Chief Growth Officer – or CGO – is meant to assure and manage their company’s growth by developing growth initiatives. “Using metrics like social ROIs, employee engagement, and company revenue, the CGO should be able to provide c-level support to the company’s long-term expansion plans,” says Bobby Chacko, a veteran CPG executive and entrepreneur of over 25 years.
Companies like Kimberly-Clark, Lyft, and Coca-Cola have all replaced their Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) positions with Chief Growth Officers, but other companies may need the roles to work in tandem. “A CMO’s position used to naturally envelop company growth – marketing equals branding and sales and, therefore, growth, said the formula. But emerging technology and digital disruptions to industries across the world open new definitions of ‘growth’ and new opportunities for companies to diversify revenue streams and develop new products,” explains Bobby Chacko.
Enter the CGO.
“Too often, a company thinks about its growth only in the context of quarterly earnings. ‘Are we doing better than last quarter? This quarter is down over the last quarter, how can we turn that around to hit our numbers?’ But a company’s long-term success isn’t measured in 3-month increments. It’s measured in years. Decades,” says Bobby Chacko.
Bobby Chacko goes on the describe the role of a CGO in terms of lasting success. “You have to think about the new customer segments you could go after, the geographies you want to penetrate. You have to think about the experiences your brand could create. It’s not about growing three percent now – it’ about growing twenty percent this year or next year.”
“In a lot of ways, to be successful, you’re more an advocate for the consumer than you are the company,” reflects Bobby Chacko. “You’re fighting with sales, with production, with finance to develop your products and services based on what your consumers want and need. If you’re moving forward, but you’re leaving your current customers behind to do it – that’s not growth. You’re just replacing the money you lost by abandoning your longer-term, inherently more loyal customer base.”
Bobby Chacko goes on to explain that a real CGO is one that can look to the future and stay on top of trends while staying on brand and finding ways to deepen consumer relationships. “If you run a software company, it can be tempting to develop a whole new program to entice a new kind of customer to buy. But you have to stay on brand, you have to build on your strengths. Sometimes the best way to do that is to deepen your current offering and charge a little more, or to offer an expansion on services for advanced users.”