The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has become a more, and more common corporate designation in recent years. Given the tremendous marketing potential offered by the new media and proliferation of distribution channels, companies have begun to realise the huge potential of marketing in guiding corporate level strategies and substantially contributing to the financial bottom line. In spite of such an understanding, it is startling to note that the average tenure of a CMO is merely 23 months compared to a CFO that typical lasts 4-5 years.
Not many companies have a senior marketing representative in their C-suite. This begs the question – do companies need a CMO or is the role of a CMO a mere hype?
Does my company need a Chief Marketing Officer?
As the business world changes so has marketing changed in a system-wide strategic discipline. Given marketer’s knowledge of the customers, it is imperative that the CEO and the corporate board have a representative of the customer to continually educate them.
I am struck by the line that so many companies tout “Our customers come first” or something along the lines of, “the customer is always right” in mission statements. So where is the representation?
In todays global market place, where you can buy your bolt, or search for your house on any number of portals sites, the customer and understanding what he wants is paramount.
So back to the question “Does my company need a CMO?” What would he or she do?
Well, for a start he/she would:
Align marketing with the corporate business strategy.
Connect the corporate boardroom with the customer.
Create a customer-centric organisation.
Challenges faced by the CMO
The challenges faced by the CMO are the problems increasingly faced by marketing as a discipline off late. It has been long argued that one of the fundamental challenges of marketing that has undermined the credibility of marketing, challenged the standing of marketing within a company, and even threatened the existence of the very discipline as a distinct entity is marketing’s failure to quantify its outcomes and justify investments into marketing activities.
The three main reasons in this regard are:
- Relating marketing activities to long-term effects
- Separation of individual marketing activities from other actions
- Use of purely financial methods for justifying and benchmarking marketing investments.
The future of the CMO.
In the future, the CMO will emerge as the strategic connection between the corporate boardroom, the top management team, the CEO and the customer. The time is not too far when the success of the company depends on the strength of its marketing and the CMO.