Next generation CMO…

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Remember when the internet was new and people were amazed by the fact that they could do email and shop online while sitting at home in their underwear? Fast forward to today, and that amazement has become an expectation.

People have become omnichannel shoppers and they expect full access to products and services at any time and on a variety of devices and they expect companies to be responsive on social media. On their way to buying your products, the omnichannel shopper will take a meandering journey that may include stops at your Facebook page, some reviews on YouTube, and finally a purchase via your mobile website.

All this fragmentation is fundamentally altering the marketing landscape. In order to keep up, it is important for marketers to start becoming jacks of all trades. Think generalist, not specialist.

The next generation CMO is going to have to provide a consistent experience for customers over a dizzying array of platforms while doing so with a smaller budget. While customers are expecting more and more, marketing budgets are being slashed and resources stretched thinner and thinner. What’s a CMO to do in this situation?

The answer is to change your approach and adapt and in the future, you may want to reconsider the C in your CMO title. Mike Moran, my good friend and co-professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, says CMO should stand for Cheap Marketing Officer. He says that “you need to cut costs and find new ways to drive business with the same old budget? Instead of complaining about budget cuts, let’s embrace them and find new ways to succeed with less. Because it can be done.”

What are some of those new ways? For starters, grab the low-hanging fruit that is available for free. Next, grab opportunities as they come, because they may not last very long. No matter what the age of your company, start thinking like a new start up and you’ll be able to start moving quickly and cheaply. Despite what Mad Men says, marketing doesn’t have to be expensive…and you don’t have to lock yourself into a long binding contract if things are not going well.  Business people and consumers alike enjoy the flexibility of not having a contract—they like to have the freedom to make real time decisions.  Case in point: Cablevision’s Optonline VoiP phone services require no contracts, vs. Verizion’s FiOS contract approach…who do you think captured market share quicker? T-Mobile is about to shake up the mobile industry by announcing no contract phone plans—can this be?

My “on demand CMO” model may have been too early to market fifteen years ago, but it’s exactly what CMOs will start to become in the coming decade.  Do you agree?


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