Marketing leaders consider themselves to be a driving force of revenue for their brands and are expanding their skill sets to meet the challenge, according to a new report by The CMO Council.

The CMO Council surveyed 191 marketing leaders during the first and second quarters of this year to see how attitudes have changed since they conducted a similar study in 2016. The findings, published in CMOs and the Spark to Drive Growth, outline the role of these marketers, their primary concerns and allies within the company.

Growth was defined by 95 percent of businesses as revenue, and 70 percent of marketers agreed. There appears to be some disconnect between what the business and marketing leaders believe is critical for growth, with wide gaps between opinions across the board on gross margin, market share and brand evaluation.

A majority (82 percent) of respondents indicated that they are the primary driver of functions like brand development and storytelling, followed by customer engagement and communications (75 percent).

When asked which skills were mandatory to shape and evolve the growth agenda, however, “Storytelling in a Digital World” was named by only 44 percent—less than “Data and Intelligence,” “Market Insights and Knowledge,” “Holistic View of the Customer Journey” and “Brand Building and development at 56, 50, 49 and 47 percents, respectively.

“As CMOs attempt to accelerate and evolve the growth agenda, they should hold their legacy of storytelling and brand closely, but they will likely also need to branch out to secure new tools and more business-focused skills to take growth from increases in revenue to transformations in success,” The CMO Council advises in the report.

Looking to the future, nearly a quarter of marketers said that field sales experience and knowledge would be a critical skill for driving tomorrow’s growth efforts.

Since businesses and marketers agree that growth is defined by revenue, it should come as no surprise that CMOs align themselves with executives that are tied to sales. The president/CEO topped the list of allies in the quest for growth, followed by the head of sales. Interestingly, while 60 percent of marketers said they influence service and support delivery, only 14 percent are connecting with heads of service and support.

“What is revealed by the marketers participating in this research is that the comfort zone of campaigns and communications continues to be a welcoming home base for many,” observed The CMO Council. “However, the leaders who have embraced their role as a growth driver and orchestrator of the customer experience can set a new course for lasting profitability and opportunity.”