From packaged goods to technology and from B2B to B2C, the question on senior marketers’ minds is: why have CMO tenures doubled?  According to executive search firm, Spencer Stuart, after a low point in 2006 of 23.2 months, CMO tenure jumped to 45 months in 2012.  Here are 5 reasons I see driving that change:

1. Today’s marketing mix has quantifiable metrics vs. the soft qualitative measures of yesterday. Increasingly, all aspects of the marketing spectrum—from awareness, consideration, conversion, sampling, and sharing to attribution—are measurable.  Gone are the days of approximating brand awareness, recognition and recall, soft relationships between events, ads, and campaigns to sales.  Advances in technology solutions and the proliferation of Social media has enabled us to track and engage with our customers like never before.  That has resulted in the need for more skilled marketing practitioners with sophisticated skills sets making them more valuable members of the management team.

2. Relationship to I.T.: CMOs, CTOs, CIOs are beginning to understand that they need to “play nice in the sandbox”..  Because of the data rich environments we now operate in, the need to build strong alliances with our IT colleagues has never been more important.  And since we are all speaking the others language – much to the joy of the CEO, we all have a stake in the game to transform the company.  That transformation comes from our ability to better engage clients, delivery products and services that meet their needs more efficiently because our collective agendas are now aligned.

3. Relationship to sales: Never before has it been more obvious that marketing is about sales enablement. Creating a “content culture” in organizations is all about sales enablement.  Distributing brand content through media channels that we control is a cost effective way of building a committed community of followers who will help spread our story.  And, by effectively managing our content and leveraging our social media networks, we can quickly build a database of warm leads.  So I ask, what sales manager would turn that down?

4. It’s all about the brand: If we have learned nothing from Silicon Valley, the Internet bubble and its subsequent implosion, it is that without a brand, you have nothing.  I am sure you have wondered how companies with little to no revenues can be valued at billions of dollars? It’s the brand, my friend.  Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Ebay, have all shown how critical it is to maintain a vibrant and relevant brand. It doesn’t hurt when you also develop some really cool stuff as well.   Today, app’s can be developed in record time…to do just about anything.  But without proper attention to branding, your company you can be quickly cannabolized and/or commoditized.

5. It’s all in the numbers: Smart CMOs get down to implementing quantifiable objectives and metrics as soon as they land in their positions.  They immediately collaborate with sales and IT and determine how they can make a quick impact (to sales/bottom line) and build on those successes as they go.  Because of technology and unparalleled consumer engagement tools and processes, markets “talk back.”  You are able to know, in fairly quick order, if what you are doing is working.  Check your Twitter references, blog comments, customer forums, wiki’s, white paper downloads, webinar attendance, funnel opportunities, salesforce program for number of sales calls, conversions, referral program numbers—do you see a trend here?  Never before has the CMO had as many touch points and tools to quantify their efforts.

This, I think, is the secret sauce.  Care to share your opinion?

Interesting article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferrooney/2012/06/14/cmo-tenure-hits-43-month-mark/

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