The Fortune 500 - the biggest corporations in America - by definition produce products for the masses. These are the industry leaders, the category killers, that have dominated their particular market and have legions of customers for their goods and services. A few have amazing stories to tell a gigantic tribe - but most have ordinary commoditized products sold to the big fat middle. Many of these behemoths are run by seasoned CEOs from the more "formulaic" corporate functions. There is a sizable cohort of chiefs from accounting and finance backgrounds. Many are the "general management" types from Harvard Business School. Often, the COO is the heir apparent and gets promoted to the top spot because he knows how things are run. But what about the marketer? Why are there so few CEOs with marketing backgrounds? Why is this? There is a deficit of imagination in the boardrooms of Corporate America. The industrial revolution ushered in a focus on efficiency and cost control. If a CEO could reduce costs, maximize manufacturing capacity, and deliver on time through the supply chain, his job was done and he could reap the big bucks. A good CEO back then basically commoditized a product faster and cheaper than his competitors. The residue of this thinking exists to this day. Directors on boards still see the world through the eyes of Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford. In a world of commoditized products, it makes sense to promote the bean counter who knows where costs can be cut. The finance guy knows how to lead in a world of almost uniform interest rates and razor-thin profit margins. The operations guy is intimately familiar with the clockwork factories. But we're living in a new world where the rules have changed. The digital world makes commoditized products nearly unprofitable - there is little to no room for profit margins. If what Seth Godin says is true, that only companies that tell compelling stories to tribes of loyal customers will succeed, that "marketing is the new leadership," then we need to promote the CMO to the top spot. We need boards of directors to see the world through the eyes of Branson, Jobs, and Knight, finding marketers at heart who know how to tell great stories and command a premium for their products.