Where is the Super CMO?

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by: Idris Mootee

Continuing on my last posting on the "Marketing and the CMO" topic. The short tenure of the average CMO is causing many to wonder whether this is a role that is set up for success or simply many CMOs just don’t live up to expectations. So what is the job of the CMO? Is that a glorified title for a senior marketer? Or is it a new role designed to bring marketing to strategic level and into the boardroom?

Generally speaking, a CMO should be the middleware between the company and its customers. Their responsibilities go way beyond marketing communications and include shaping the customer value propositions and adding high value differentiations or intangibles (such as customer experience innovation or service design) to a tangible product. In that case it is a very big job that deserves to be in the C-suite. This is the job of a super CMO.

Let me try to define the role and responsibilities of the super CMO:

– Ensuring the company’s products and services are in tune with consumer demand as the market shifts. It should bring the voice of the customer into the boardroom and advocate for a balance between customer value and company’s bottom line.

– Looking out into the future to identify disruptive opportunities that offer new customer value at a low cost. Directing consumer insight mining to ensure their offering is constantly matching customer unmet needs.

– Drop the traditional marketing communications mindset and drive a cultural change within the marketing dept. to adapt to the new marketing realities that the customer is in control and advertising’s effectiveness to build the brand is limited.

– Accept that they need to be held accountable for achieving top-line growth objectives as well as customer experience innovation and other brand metrics.

The long and short of it: If a company chooses to create a position of a CMO, then the position must be invested with responsibilities, authority and accountability that befits that job title. Otherwise, is he or she is a VP MarCom?


Mich Matthews, CMO of Microsoft, recently spoke at the AAAA media conference and then was questioned by ANA CEO, Bob Liodice. It was fascinating to hear Mich admit that even Microsoft, admittedly a prime catalyst for the digital revolution, was struggling with media innovation, trying to find appropriate marketing talent, developing a marketing process and dealing with innovation and consumer control. And how to make her CFO comfortable that the marketing spending is driving business results.

Some of Mich’s key points:

-Technology requires that we innovate or die.

– We constantly have to be part of the revolution by testing, investing and experimenting.

– As far as marketing talent — at Microsoft, the marketers have to be able to speak the language of engineers and have the "bandwidth" to deal with all of the emerging media.

– Caution to marketers who are using social networks and the like, not to use them to "market" but rather to engage the communities and enter into a dialogue with them about your products or services.


Those are really good points. She also noted that often the "small guys" are redefining industries so marketers have to pay attention to them. So you’d better watch out for the "small guys"!


Original post: http://mootee.typepad.com/innovation_playground/2007/06/where_is_the_su.html