CMO Council


A recent Ad Age article (Blame CMO Turnover on Metrics Mania) states that CMOs are facing ‘Death by Data’ due an extreme focus on metrics getting in the way of creativity and innovation which is required to maintain competitive edge.

The headlines continue to be dominated with news, ad nauseum, about abrupt CMO departures, shortening tenures, turnovers galore and now re-defining the CMO role altogether.

A study conducted by the CMO Council, confirms a perception versus reality gap exists between the expectations that CEOs have of CMOs and actual performance.

While the good news is that CEOs still consider marketing to be a critical part of corporate strategy, two-thirds of CEOs say their top marketers don’t provide enough evidence about true performance and ROI.

Hmmm…did the CMO ever receive clarity about ‘true performance’ goals and ROI?

Today’s CMOs have a lot on their plate in our low trust environment.

Aside from presenting the numbers, they may be handling questionable ethics and business operations, brand reputation, keeping up with ‘Word-of-Mouth’ marketing and social networking, online commerce, maintaining a competitive edge, producing the next product and so on - all under the direction of a CEO who might be expecting too much and would rather keep the door closed.

Perhaps it is time for the CEO and the board to re-define their views and expectations of the CMO - fix the CMOs bruised Achilles heel.

With the Apple’s of this world leading the path of innovation, isn’t their enough to focus on and stay ahead?

After all, isn’t the CMO fundamental objective to market and sell more products/services? A few suggestions to help our CEOs and CMOs:

Functional Organization: Boards should stop creating CMO positions for the wrong reasons such as having them fix a fledging marketing organization or be a scapegoat for the reputation impaired. A Chief Ethics/Compliance Officer could be appropriate for fixing these issues and a good bridge for the CEO and CMO.

Open the Corner Office Door: Establish a better and regular dialogue between the CEO and CMO about marketing objectives, performance expectations and ROI tracking.
Focus: The customer is still king. As President and Founder of The CMO Club, Pete Krainik, recently commented, 'overcome the fact that in most companies the marketing group is not close enough to the product/service, nor close enough to the customer.' Know the product well, poll and take customer opinions seriously.
Social Responsibility: More than two-thirds of Americans say they consider a company’s business practices when deciding what to buy, according to a 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Study, and want their employers to support a social cause. Embrace the firm’s social and environmental purpose activities and integrate them holistically with business and marketing practices - top to bottom.
Stakeholder Liaisons: With customers and employees keeping track of their favorite companies and products, be sure to consistently communicate and demonstrate the value proposition.

CMOs live long and prosper.