Where have all the CMOs gone?

June 1, 2017 Julie Brown

Given the current events over the last few weeks, months, and even years, the number of CMOs at organizations has noticeably declined… as well as their tenures. Recently, Coca-Cola replaced the role of its CMO with a Chief Growth Officer (CGO).

A Chief Growth Officer… What is that? And does this new role seal the fate for CMOs everywhere?

A CGO’s role combines marketing, operations, IT, sales, and business development. The focus is to help businesses engage with prospects throughout their entire buying journey.

As stated in a recent Marketing Week article, “As long as marketers continue to position themselves as experts in advertising, brand positioning, millennials, and the latest digital fads – instead of being growth drivers – we’ll see more CMO positions disappear.”

So how can CMOs and marketing departments prove their worth? As important as a company’s brand is, the marketing team and its leader are just as crucial. These 5 survival tips for CMOs and their marketing teams show you how to prove your worth and value and—ultimately—improve your brand and keep your CMO status.

Build the Right Team

No one marketer knows and does it all. Marketing is too complex to conquer alone. An effective marketing team has a variety of skills, personalities, and most importantly, a visionary leader. Keep these personas at the top of your mind as you consider building (or rebuilding) your team:

  • The leader with the vision.
  • The project manager who keeps your group on task.
  • The digital guru who can handle social, email, advertisements, web, SEO…  anything digital!
  • The writer/content marketer whose prose cuts through all the noise.
  • The designer who can create stunning visualizations that immediately get noticed!
  • The product/solutions marketer who truly knows how to market what you sell. 
  • The data “nerd” who loves analytics. Every team needs someone focused on metrics.

This list is by no means all-inclusive. These high-level, basic skill sets are what most marketing teams need to be successful. The takeaway is to build a team where everyone complements each other’s strengths—and weaknesses.

Leverage Technology

CMOs have so much technology to lean on these days... 5,381 solutions to be exact. In fact, CMOs are primed to spend more on technology than CIOs by this year’s end. Selecting the best solutions for your company and team can make or break your organization.

CMOs need to provide all the necessary technology to help everyone do their jobs well. Some technologies to consider include:

Focus on Process, Process, Process

Any sized marketing team or business needs processes. The world of marketing is complex, and marketers depend on a CMO to put systems in place to steer the ship in the right direction. If you have not evaluated your processes recently, review them to make sure projects are not falling by the wayside and your team is not hindered by any obstacles or bottlenecks.

Do More than Just Marketing

Nowadays, CMOs are expected to do much more than just position a brand. To be effective, the CMO needs to focus on the entire company, including:

  • Building a reputation
  • Creating the right culture
  • Marketing the products/services sold
  • Building a strong pipeline
  • Closing sales
  • Retaining customers
  • Recruiting candidates
  • And more

Bottom line, the CMO needs to be focused on growth for the company. To quote the Marketing Week article, “Growth depends on a longer term vision and enterprise-wide execution of strategy. This requires that organizational complexity is not merely minimized but is managed in a comprehensive manner, often challenging the prevailing way of doing things and altering corporate culture.”

Measure & Adjust Your Marketing Efforts

With all the fancy technology available to measure marketing’s performance, it’s the CMO’s job to make sure this happens. Analyze your metrics and make the necessary adjustments so your marketing efforts continue to improve and produce results. Without this consistent analysis, it’s impossible to prove marketing’s worth. And there goes the CMO.

About the Author

Julie Brown

Julie Brown is the Product Marketer for the Distributed Marketing and Campaign Management solutions at Aprimo. She has more than 10 years of marketing experience across various industries. Julie came to Aprimo from a cybersecurity startup, Rook Security, where she led the marketing department. Prior to Rook Security, she was a Product Marketer at Salesforce Marketing Cloud for its email marketing solution. Julie is a Certified Product Marketing Manager from the Association of International Product Marketing and Management and received a B.S. in Journalism and Public Relations as well as a minor in Marketing from Bowling Green State University.  

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