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CEO Study Reveals Key Insights

Conducted in conjunction with The University of Texas, McCombs School of Business, new Chief Outsiders study uncovers key insights between market-driven and operations-driven businesses

HOUSTON, TX – May 22, 2012 - In a new study dedicated to uncovering growth drivers of mid-size companies, Chief Outsiders, one of the nation’s most innovative marketing consulting firms,  in conjunction with The University of Texas, McCombs School of Business solicited insights from nearly 200 mid-market CEOs from 27 industries.   

In addition to profiling the general behaviors relative to growth, the research team uncovered a major key insight never before reported in a mid-market CEO study: mid-market companies are either Operations-Oriented or Market-Oriented, and the difference between those two distinctive ways of running a businesses have significant impact on revenue and on growth rate.

Key insights discovered in the study include: 

  • Market-Oriented Companies experience higher growth and are better at measureable gains.  While both types forecast good growth opportunities, study found that market-oriented firms are better able to translate those opportunities into measurable gains.
  • Operations-Oriented companies excel and grow at a rate faster than their peers if they have existing strengths in marketing disciplines. 

To determine the classification each company was profiled in a number of ways, including by the functional experience of its “top management team” (i.e., the CEO and the CEO’s direct reports). Cluster analysis of the top management teams resulted in two groupings:  The first group (45% of those surveyed) consisted of companies whose top management teams included executives with marketing experience.  The second group (55%) comprised of companies whose top management teams did not include marketing experience. 

The research team then contrasted the two groups based on their responses to survey questions. 

“We discovered a huge insight relevant to how those two types of businesses grow,” said Art Saxby, founder and principal of Chief Outsiders. “The analysis focused on the questions for which the two identified groups of businesses gave significantly different answers.”    

The study discovered that market-oriented companies (those companies that include marketing experience in the top management team) experience the following: 

  • Experience higher growth
  • Are more effective at converting growth opportunities into growth
  • Have executives with marketing experience reporting to the CEO
  • Demonstrate significant strength in tracking marketing effectiveness
  • Execute a variety of marketing disciplines with significant strength
  • Experience more growth when they spend more on marketing than industry peers
  • When growing, plan to spend more on marketing

On the other hand, operations-oriented companies (those with no marketing experience in the top management team) report that:

  • They grow faster than industry peers when they have strengths in marketing disciplines
  • Experience more growth when they spend more on marketing than industry peers
  • When growing, plan to spend more on marketing

“Armed with this insight, we can help operations-oriented companies make decisions related to market growth that will positively impact their bottom line. When companies adopt market-facing disciplines they achieve new growth,” added Saxby. 

In the survey, the majority of the companies (57%) had been in business 10 years or more and most (63%) were larger than $5M in revenue (30% were $20M+). Two-thirds (67%) sold directly to businesses or through distribution.   

 Saxby added: “The survey clearly shows that that if the company’s top management team includes executives with marketing experience, that company is more likely to experience growth ahead of their industry peers.”  

To download the survey, go to Chief Outsiders

About Chief Outsiders
Chief Outsiders, headquartered in Houston, TX, is unique among strategic marketing consulting firms, taking growth and mid-sized companies to the next level with outsourced CMO services. Unlike most marketing consulting firms, Chief Outsiders believes that delivering a world class marketing strategy creates very little value. The value is created by helping the organization implement the growth vision.

With regional offices in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Nashville, Jacksonville and New York, Chief Outsiders has been a premier source for marketing expertise, execution and leadership for companies such as Blickman, Golden Paints, Salient Systems, College Plus!, Healthy Connections, O’Rourke Petroleum, E|Spaces, Construction Connection, Melmedtronics and Spring Medical Systems. For more information, please

Media Contact: 
Ania Kubicki, Angles PR


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