Toast to CMO or CMO Toast

August 17, 2012

Once upon a time, CMO’s were company heroes. They were known to roam about the region promoting business via merit and word of mouth with their merry band of quality sales staff. However, Reuters’ article “CMOs Could Be Extinct, Says Strategic Marketing Growth Expert Lisa Nirell” tells us that times have changed.

Marketing is done via the web now. Merit is gained by comments and testimonies and companies move up the open search ladder to popularity. So, what exactly do today’s marketing personal do?

It appears the CMO’s chair has been replaced by a hard drive:

“Their current perceived role is limiting them from reaching their true potential. When I reflect on the traditionally sought after competencies for a CMO, an image of ‘order taker and service provider’ emerges. Unfortunately, that perception has three limitations: it has become outdated, if not extinct; it restricts Marketing’s true potential; and finally, it perpetuates the belief that anyone can be a marketing expert.”

Thus, CMOs are struggling with career threatening market shifts for these reasons:

  • Budgets are shifting.
  • Social media exacerbates cross-departmental and customer tensions.
  • Pressure to demonstrate a return on investment with Marketing has reached a fever pitch.
  • Lines of responsibility across marketing sales are disintegrating.

Who would have thought that chief marketing officers would go from being the toast of the town to just plain toast? Marketing is more important than quality, the service, the product—everything except revenue. Maybe traditional marketing no longer works but this is not the end of the story. It is simply the start of a new chapter.

Jennifer Shockley, August 17, 2012

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