The Impact of CEO-Led Marketing on Revenue: the Latest Go-to-Market Propeller

Thumbnail DroneLife 612x500 2The latest in an occasional column on bringing products to market in emerging technologies, by industry marketing expert Amy T. Wiegand: Go-to-Market Propeller.  The deep dive on how CEOs can drive revenue by taking an active role in marketing.

By Amy T. Wiegand

CEOs searching for a growth driver have the answer they need: a strong partnership with their CMO. A CMO partnership and a CEO-led marketing approach will impact crucial decision-making and drive revenue.

In today’s fast-paced and competitive market, the role of a CEO has evolved beyond managing operations and steering the company’s strategic direction. CEOs are now active in marketing, leveraging their networks, personal brand, and influence to drive revenue growth. This CEO-led marketing approach is particularly impactful in the B2B sector, where relationships and trust are crucial.

What is CEO-Led Marketing?

 CEO-led marketing is the active involvement of a CEO in leading and influencing the company’s brand authority. It does not mean the CEO takes the critical role of the CMO or Head of Marketing or partakes in the day-to-day marketing activities. Yet, the CEO role goes beyond the traditional role of a CEO as a figurehead and exercises influence in actions that champion brand ambassadorship, thought leadership, and strategic direction.

Why CEO-Led Marketing Matters

Trust matters. CEOs are an active face of the company and can organically represent its values, vision, and culture. When a CEO takes an active role in brand building, it can significantly boost the company’s credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of potential investors, customers, and talent. According to an Edelman Trust Barometer, CEOs are among the most trusted sources of information about a company, even more so than traditional marketing channels. CEO-led marketing humanizes a brand, making it more relatable and authentic. Business 101 tells us that people prefer working with people they know and trust. This is particularly important in B2B marketing, where purchasing decisions rely on sizeable spending and long-term relationships. This trust translates to impactful gains that realize executive-level benefits.

A McKinsey study states, “CEOs who place marketing at the core of their growth strategy are twice as likely to have greater than 5 percent annual growth compared with their peers.”

 CEO-Led Marketing Studies

 Several studies have shown the positive impact of CEO-led marketing on revenue and business growth. According to, companies with CEOs who engage on social media have a 46% higher stock price growth rate than those without social CEOs. Executive engagement in thought leadership activities tends to have higher market valuations and better financial performance overall.

Many studies reveal that B2B buyers are more likely to engage with company leaders who share insights and thought leadership content. Commerce Tools’ recent whitepaper stated that more than 69% of B2B buyers find gathering information online superior to interacting with sales during the discovery process, making the CEO’s influence more vital than ever.

CEO-Led Marketing Leaders & Outcomes

 Satya Nadella – Microsoft

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, is a prime example of a CEO who has successfully leveraged his brand to drive revenue growth. Under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft has transformed from a traditional software company into a cloud computing powerhouse. Nadella frequently shares his insights and vision for the future of technology on social media and in industry events, positioning himself as a thought leader in the tech industry. This has boosted Microsoft’s brand reputation and contributed to its significant revenue growth in recent years.

According to AP News, Microsoft’s stock has soared by more than 1,000% since Nadella took the helm in 2014, compared to the more gradual 185% growth of the broader S&P 500. Microsoft now has a market value of $3 trillion — more than any U.S. publicly traded company, including its longtime rival Apple.

Julie Sweet – Accenture

Julie Sweet is the CEO of Accenture, a global professional services company. Her leadership has undoubtedly influenced revenue growth through various marketing channels. Julie Sweet has led Accenture in helping clients navigate digital transformation challenges as a thought leader through publications, research reports, and industry conferences. Sweet shares valuable insights and perspectives on emerging trends, including investments in new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things and industry-specific solutions tailored to key sectors like healthcare, financial services, and retail. Sweets’ strategic leadership and focus on client-centricity, thought leadership, branding, and innovation have played a significant role in driving marketing-led initiatives that contribute to overall revenue growth for the company.

In a CRN article reviewing Accenture’s fiscal health, Julie Sweet states that AI is a key growth area for Accenture, which she has championed as a thought leader. Sweet told financial analysts that Accenture has taken an early leadership position in GenAI, an essential part of its clients’ reinvention in the next decade. Accenture sold about 300 generative AI-related projects worth $300 million in fiscal 2023, and demand continued to accelerate in the first fiscal quarter of 2024 to over $450 million in GenAI sales.

CEO-Led Marketing Leader Essentials

 Align Strategic Goals & w/CMO: CEOs with company-aligned strategic goals who partner with their CMOs to achieve messaging will ensure consistency and coherence in the CEO-led marketing strategy that realizes results. If you don’t have a CMO, contract a seasoned marketer to consult.

Lean into Marketing Experts: You may be familiar with marketing, yet you may need to be more objective when building your brand. Lean into marketing and communication leaders. Whether employed or contracted, a seasoned leader will help establish your brand, prepare you for engagement, and act as your ghostwriter and exclusive social media manager.

Establish Clear Objectives: CEOs who identify their unique value proposition and areas of expertise will focus on building a solid brand. Value propositions for your brand include, but are not limited to, niche areas of expertise like innovative solutions, customer service approaches, your company’s measurable outcomes, business success, team member highlights, social impact influences, or a passion for continued learning.

Be Authentic & Transparent: Authenticity and transparency are keys to building trust with potential investors, customers, and talent. CEOs who are genuine in their communications and share insights and perspectives that are truly valuable and relevant to their target audience gain executive influence quickly.

Engage with the Audience: CEOs who actively engage with their audience by responding to comments and questions, participating in industry discussions, and speaking at conferences and events will achieve brand growth faster than CEOs who do not follow the same practices. Brand growth translates to profitability.

Pass the Torch: While the CEO role is known to be the most influential, if a marketing partnership is separate from your strategy, determine a co-founder or executive leader who will take on this role and commit to brand ambassadorship consistently.

By partnering with their CMO, CEOs and leaders can leverage their brand and influence, boost the company’s credibility, differentiate it from competitors, and drive engagement and revenue. Satya Nadella and Julie Sweet demonstrate that CEOs actively involved in marketing and thought leadership can make a substantial difference in a company’s success. And no matter the company’s size, this influence has an impact. CEOs who embrace a strategy, invest in building their brand, and engage with their audience maximize the impact of revenue for their company.

Go-to-Market PropellerGo-to-Market PropellerAmy T. Wiegand is a go-to-market professional, having worked with the best of tech start-ups and notables like Walmart, The Coca-Cola Company, NATO, UPS, local, state, and federal governments, colleges and universities, top ad agencies, and more. She has realized revenue generation growth throughout her career and champions brand management, pipeline strategy, organizational process and implementation, content, product and digital marketing, public and investor relations – and profitability. Amy is also a project architect and master director, having developed award-winning programs in aviation, technology, and special military operations. Amy was the first person to facilitate a sUAS training program for The State of Virginia in 2014, is an enthusiastic leader of STEM initiatives, and distant cousin to the notable Amelia Earhart. She is the founder of Earhart Alden & Associates, LLC, a go-to-market consulting firm, and the proud single mom of a college-age daughter.

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Miriam McNabbMiriam McNabb

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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