As the Covid-19 pandemic upended industries and economies alike, companies were forced to disrupt themselves and how they think about consumers. At the intersection of that shift were chief marketing officers. In addition to serving as translators between companies and consumers in an effort to drive connection, growth, revenue and creativity, they were tasked with a new responsibility: navigating a volatile “new normal.”
Forbes’ third annual CMO Next list is a compilation of 50 marketing chiefs who have done just that, and redefining the role in the process. Based on qualitative research, the list features a group of leaders who are spearheading a range of marketing efforts at startups, nonprofits and corporate giants in ways that elevate the role of marketing within organizations, business and the world. The list is also informed by a group of marketing experts, ranging from analysts and agency consultants to CMO recruiters. While they didn’t vet candidates, they painted a picture of how the CMO role continues to change to include heightened focus on revenue, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and product development.
Position: Cofounder and CMO
Company: Medly Pharmacy
Instead of focusing on DTC marketing like some medical startups, Chirag Kulkarni is targeting doctors and patients to scale digital pharmacy Medly. Since launching the company in 2017, the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 alumnus and his cofounders—a pair of second-generation pharmacy owners—have raised $110 million and reached an annual recurring revenue run rate of $300 million while also serving more than 100,000 patients during the pandemic.