Sunday, October 23, 2011

CMO? CDO? - Unfilled Senior Posts Because of Role Confusion or Lack of Understanding?

I read an article yesterday that stated that there are six major American Companies with CMO openings that have remained unfilled for over six months and in some cases up to 18 months. 

Say What?

The primary reason cited was that the CEOs and/or Boards of Directors of these various companies were wrestling with the concept of, “What is a CMO in today’s multi-media world?”  And, in some cases, the debate goes so far as to suggest that the CMO position could be outdated?

Say What?

In this day of ever growing use of Digital Media, there is apparently a debate in Corporate America whether Marketing is still a primary component of senior leadership. Some are even asking if the Marketing Role has been replaced by a more digital one, now coined a CDO?


I help my clients who are mostly medium sized businesses utilize the best practices in the digital world. Often I find myself explaining (repeatedly) that digital tactics: email, paid search, analytics, etc. ARE NOT the end-all-be all answer to successfully marketing a company with a guaranteed high ROI.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?

By the nature of this position being a C-Level role, it requires leadership, knowledge and specialized experience that no other leader in an organization possesses. So this is where I get confused -- Why on earth would a CEO, Board of Directors or any other non-Marketing executive try to define a role that is so specialized, especially in light of the influx, inclusion and  full impact of digital tactics on the palette? But I want to be clear that it is a palette. As similar as a variety of colors are to an artists, the variety of tactics available to the CMO are critical to leading an organization to success. A multi-channel approach always has been and always will be the healthiest and most agile formulation for a successful marketing program; regardless of the type of company. I’ve never understood why anyone would think that limiting their company’s options is a good idea. So why would you say that marketing is now only to be done via Digital Channels?

Say What?

I’ve addressed the Marketing role and its fundamental relationship and responsibility with Operations and Technology. If you’ve read them before, you might find them interesting to peruse again with this new info about the confusion of Digital tactics and whether or not they replace Marketing. If you haven’t read them before, you might see why I feel so strongly about Marketing as an integral C-Level position that must remain intact for businesses of all sizes to succeed and flourish.

CMO and CIO Mutually Exclusive Until Recently? Really? I Say Look Up A Ring in the Ladder!


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