by: Idris Mootee
The challenges faced by the CMO and senior marketing execs today speak to many of the fundamental strategic as well as structural problems underlying marketing organizations and the external environment. The proliferation and fragmentation of media as well as the as the over-branding of everything is causing the jobs of many CMOs.
The core definition of the role is not clear in many instances. Sometimes the real job is Chief Sales Officer and sometimes it is the job of a Chief Communications Officer and sometimes the job is the Chief Strategic Alliances Officer. Rarely the job is just Chief Marketing Officer. CEOs are having too much trouble defining the CMO role and making heads or tails of what, exactly, the value was. And for the future, the role will be called “Chief Social Marketing and Communities Officer”:
CMOs health check will often uncover the following:
Chronic Social Media Phobia: A fear what to do with social media and knowing it is important but can’t figure how to orchestrate these efforts or link them to ROI. How much does a Twitter message worth? How does these behavior will evolve? How do we monitor or measure them? Suddenly our brands are becoming vulnerable.
Marketing Science Delusion: The unsubstantiated belief that marketing is all about science is causing this delusion. There is science in marketing but it will always be just 50%. The other 50% is social science. While great strides have been made in describing human behavior in the marketplace, the ‘general laws’ of human behavior are not really laws. Human behavior is not universal, and observation and experimentation in the marketing sphere rarely yield strictly reproducible results. So it is not that kind of science.
Brand Equity Ulcer: A stress condition caused many to think brand equity is a goal and refuse to acknowledge that brand equity is only an intermediary step towards the larger goal of creating a more successful business (cash flow). Patients find it hard to resist the temptation to narrow the focus to brand valuation when the focus should be on the overall value dynamics of the business.
Undifferentiated Technology Obsession: An obsession disorder suffers by many by repeatedly throwing money at marketing undifferentiated product or service offerings and hoping to magically create differentiation.
For CMOs to succeed they must sit at the top of an “agile and socially-driven” marketing organization, and new capabilities need to be built from the ground up. The science of marketing is advancing forward and measurement systems are years behind. Advertising agencies are more behind the curve than clients and clients are demanding more.
CMOs also need to equip themselves with financial skills and to better understand KPIs that link to NPV. John Quelch (HBS) in an Advertising Age column suggested that “Improved accountability requires CMOs to be financially literate, to understand the balance sheet as well as the income-statement effects of marketing initiatives.”
CMOs also need to take on the role of a change agent. As marketing becomes “social”, CMOs who once bought the voice of the customer into organizations (customer-centricity) now once gain have a mission to bring all ideas that are “social” into the organizations. Effectively the change agent for the transformation of the socially empowered enterprises. There is no room for complacency or incremental efforts. Marketing is a dynamic practice that keeps an organization in check with the dynamic needs of its customer communities and of the marketplace.