Is the CMO the Toughest Job?

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Is the CMO the Toughest Job?

"It's no news that CMOs are among the most oft-booted execs. And a new survey from recruiter Korn/Ferry reports that most marketing insiders say when CMOs fail, the fault isn't with the individual, but with companies that aren't as open to change as they think they are."This quote from a MediaPost article is probably accurate. Another factor is that the CMO probably didn't have the Authority (and proper backing) to make the changes needed across the organization.

Organizations are made up of silos and fiefdoms. Each head of a silo has his own performance metrics and scorecard that he has to hit to get a bonus or keep his job. How often are those goals opposed to those of another executives? "Some 60% of those responding to the recruiter's questions say the primary reason a CMO gets bounced is that the CMO is brought in to drive change, but the organization was not aligned behind the change agenda. [MediaPost article]

What is Success for a CMO? Most often I hear Revenue. However, the CMO also has responsibility for internal marketing, branding, social media, metrics, website, online marketing, online sales, PPC, SEO, offline marketing, lead generation, PR, media outreach, channel sales support, collateral, video, and on and on. How does 1 person manage all of those moving parts?

Remember how I wrote about the complexities of change? It was before I saw this article.

The CIO and CFO have pretty clear cut jobs. CEOs tend to hold jobs longer than CMOs, but what they all forget is that ultimately it is the CEO's job to make sure CMO is supported it his mission.

AOL eliminated its CMO 5 months after they hired her and are pushing her responsibilities to its online properties and replacing her position with a chief communications officer. Just one example of the shifting sands in the Marketing realm. (True AOL may not have been a great example.)

Forbes is saying that the CMO tenure is no longer 23 months although it does depend on industry.

I think the title is a misnomer. It isn't Chief Marketing Officer because it is a combo of communications officer, marketing and sales (unless the company has a sales officer). And it is internal and external. It is alignment of branding across all worlds: employees, stakeholders, marketplace and customers.

It encompasses every touch of the customer from prospect to post-sales - customer care, billing, ordering, deployment, tech support, provisioning, the way people answer the phone, hold music, phone tree, on-boarding, talent, culture, collections, the technician's look and attitude on install. And let's not forget sales (direct and indirect), which is tougher today than it has ever been.

Arguably the CMO has the toughest job.

And shocker I cannot think of a single CMO name in telecom, although some are ranked as top private CMO's.

IBM has a 2011 survey of CMO's. 52% say they are unprepared for the complexities they will face in 5 years.

Another study by the CMO Council shows that customer relationship building and retention would be a top priority.

" There is a serious need for an iron-clad connection between service and marketing because no matter how amazing the retention campaign is, one slip-up can destroy even the most loyal advocates. Marketing certainly does not need to run these functions, but we better have our ears open for the voice of the customer," writes the CMO Council. It just seems like a lot rides on factors outside the sphere of influence.

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