A recent BusinessWeek article discusses “The Disposable Worker”. It does a great job describing the challenges facing today’s workforce. But for the biggest brands, it shows a growing and necessary trend. How do I compete on a global scale deploying talent on an as needed basis, increasing my flexibility and decreasing my cost? Ultimately how does this trend impact how marketing is done inside the enterprise?
Marketing departments are required to provide ever increasing ROI with fewer resources and less budget. This is difficult to do when you have a large headcount filled with too many generalists. The marketplace is changing so rapidly it is impossible to keep the perfect balance of skills on your team. CMO’s are increasingly turning to interim marketing executives to; build an analytics function, launch a new product / brand or handle merger integration.
Reality is your headcount is lower than it has been in years leaving your team overworked. Your internal team does not have the skills or bandwidth to handle a large influx of work and move from execution to strategy. Outsourcing to an agency or consulting firm is too expensive and your results are limited by the talent they have on their team / bench. Alternatively for significantly less money, you can have an interim executive who has direct industry experience working by your side on a daily basis.
In the end you get much more than just a recommendation you would receive from a consulting process. You get a recommendation from someone who knows what it is like to live in an enterprise like yours, so the recommendation is one that can be implemented and then they stay around for as much of the actual implementation as you see fit.
The CMO role is changing more rapidly than any other “C” suite position. CMO’s and the COO’s or CEO’s who manage them are scrambling to keep up. While CMO’s used to be able to get away with understanding brand and advertising, this is no longer enough. Any CMO with this selective toolbox is only going to provide a very limiting solution to their employer. Hiring a CMO with this limited view of marketing is one of the reasons the average CMO tenure is 18 months.
Today’s CMO needs to understand how the business works. This seems obvious, but too often marketing is relegated to the “make things pretty department”. Only a CMO who understands the business deserves a seat at the big table. If you are savvy enough to drive corporate strategy then you have the insight necessary to be a great CMO.
Analytics will drive your decisions. Historically the most persuasive person on the marketing team was the one who was able to get ideas started and implemented. Today, it all starts with customer data and dispassionate analysis. We are seeing a trend of top analytics executives being promoted to CMO. I expect the pace of that trend to accelerate.
The CMO job is getting more difficult by the day. New pressures include the evolving media landscape, economic uncertainty and responsibility for corporate strategy. Continually we are in a period where more is expected with less.
In addition to all the traditional responsibilities (branding, direct marketing, market research, etc.) we place on the CMO’s plate. In order to keep their jobs, CMO’s need:
Innovation – Both in products and how they market them.
Revenue Growth – Sales team is execution, marketing owns the sales strategy.
Alignment – Cross-functional, global, executive team all need to be aligned with customer.
Accountability – Both in investment and a focus on constant improvement
Strategy – Top level CMO’s are driving corporate strategy, marketing strategy and sales strategy using customer centric data.
The result is when done correctly, the CMO is the second most powerful role in the organization. In the future we will commonly see CMO’s promoted to CEO.
Researchers Also Develop Framework for Classifying Variances in Marketing Leadership Positions Across Companies and Industries Based on Scientific Analysis of Job Descriptions
Atlanta (PRWEB) November 18, 2009 — New research appears to indicate that, despite the volatility that sometimes surrounds the position, the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is being created with increasing frequency among publicly-held companies. This finding is the result of two studies conducted by Rajdeep Grewal, Professor of Marketing and Dean’s Faculty Fellow at the Pennsylvania State University, and Rui Wang, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Peking University, Beijing, China. The results are published in the current volume of The Chief Marketing Officer Journal (www.ChiefMarketingOfficer.com).
The purpose of the research effort was to answer several questions about the role of heads of marketing, such as: Are all CMOs created equal?; Are there any systematic differences in the job descriptions of CMOs versus those of a vice president (VP) of marketing in firms without the CMO position?; What are the ramifications of any such differences in the role and expectations of CMOs and VPs of marketing for firms and the heads of marketing?; Is the “Chief Marketing Officer” title just glorified nomenclature for the VP Marketing?
We are seeing many companies invest in senior level strategists in areas of innovation, brand, e-commerce, etc. This makes perfect sense as both large and small organizations need to compete in the current economic climate but do not want to add to full-time headcount. Bringing in a marketing consultant for 6 months allows you to move your company forward but not permanently increase overhead.
So if you find yourself in the position of needing some top notch talent to consult on your marketing needs, what should you be looking for? Interestingly, not a consultant, you need a marketing practitioner.
Marketing has changed so much in the past 5 years and the velocity of that change is increasing. It is moving so fast, a lot of marketers (not just consultants) find themselves in a place where their skills are irrelevant. Ultimately, since 2005 the big changes have happened inside corporate marketing departments, not at consulting firms. Therefore, you do not want to hire a consultant who has not seen any of these changes first hand. What you need is someone who has successfully moved the needle from inside a corporate structure. They will readily understand where your company is, what challenges you face and how best to overcome them. You want someone from outside your organization to bring in innovation and to take your company to a place it cannot go with the current team. Face facts: you cannot possibly be assured of success if you choose and individual or firm who has failed to execute something in the past 5 years or longer. So where are we drawing the line? Ultimately somewhere in 2005, if you are looking at bringing in an individual or firm, study their bios carefully. If they have done nothing but consulting since 2005 or longer, they are no longer relevant as an expert marketer. They have been removed from the corporation at a time when you cannot possibly appreciate all the change from the outside.
Fortunately this is good news, with consultants come oversized mark-ups, bring in an interim marketing executive to improve results while reducing cost.
We all know that a top performer is ten times more productive than an average performer and they only earn about ten percent more. The bottom line impact of having an “A” player on your team is enormous. Ultimately, Corporate America is interesting in the fact that due to pay grades and internal equity, rock stars get paid about the same as the kid in the high school band. No one needs to be reminded of the cold, hard truth that your job rides on the quality of the talent you are surrounded by. That in mind, who do you want to go to battle with everyday? Bono or the pimply faced kid playing the trombone?
As organizations have reduced headcount overall and eliminated the fat they have become laser focused on cost in ways that are counterproductive. You cut the bottom ten percent of your workforce because expenses were out of line with revenues. Now it is time to make some strategic investments in talent and your process for doing so is to hope you find an “A” player who fell into another corporation’s bottom ten percent? If so, you are asking for an underperforming professional and to have to do the search over again in twelve to eighteen months. It is true that there are some very talented people in today’s job market. However they are clearly the exception rather than the rule. If you look at the placements our firm has made over the past 18 months, 84% of the candidates we have presented to our clients have been in a position or employed at the time we submitted them for consideration. These passive candidates resulted in 93% of our placements. Interesting that at a time when unemployment is around 9%, our clients are overwhelmingly convinced the best talent is not out looking. When compared side-by-side, you are able to see their simply is no comparison.
Today it is more important than ever to have quality people in your organization. Simple math really, you have fewer people doing more work. With an increased importance being placed on marketing, nowhere is this more important than in the group responsible for differentiating you from your competitors. Peter Drucker says, “All business in marketing and innovation, everything else is just an expense.”
Business is harder than ever, we are still in a recession and not sure what the new “normal” is. Globalization puts constant pricing pressure on companies who do not have that level of competition built into their cultures. If you hope to compete and win, it is vital that you have the best possible people on in your organization. Yet the strategy many executives carry to their HR organization is DO NOT spend any money on search fees. Even worse, they tie the bonus of the HR executive to how little they spend on search fees. How about we tie the bonus of the HR executive to the quality of hire? If you send your hiring manager enough average candidates, sooner or later they will find a bad excuse to hire one of them to the detriment of your bottom line.
I believe that eighty percent of organizations have quality people working in HR and recruiting. Problem is based on who they are, they cannot effectively research, target, contact and most importantly convince passive candidates to join your team. RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) companies have not improved upon this they have just shifted an identical process to outside your company. You get prettier reports, but not better talent. The only tried and true method for attracting the best passive candidates to your team is to call an executive search firm. Most importantly pick one who is at the top of their specialty. The best search firms know they cannot be all things to all people and can move exponentially faster when they niche focused.
Not everyone in the executive search business is an “A” player their respective niche. The best ones hire people with domain expertise in the area of specialty and train them to be top recruiting professionals. For example, you cannot recruit a top marketing professional if you have never worked in a marketing role. Globally, the recession will end soon enough. Your company’s ability to come out of its own doldrums and grow again is 100% dependent on the quality of your team. Are you surrounded by rock stars motivated to do great things or kids from the high school band just looking to get by? The deck is stacked against you if you are looking to hire another organization’s castoffs.
Building an effective online marketing team is all about creating flexibility. Best practices dictate you bring the function in-house yet create a team that can change as fast as the market. Best structure is to hire a full-time employee who knows enough about each area drive maximum ROI from the team and bring in contractors to execute / implement. Contractors provide flexibility in a world that is changing rapidly. Traditionally contract staffing has been associated with only execution/implementation as a way to retain flexibility and reduce costs. Increasingly organizations are realizing that they can also bring in executive level interim marketing talent from a Creative Director to a Digital Strategist to maximize your online presence and / or use of analytics.
Online marketing teams are different depending on industry but ultimately all organizations need some basic functions. With the proper strategy and execution, your marketing dollars will go farther online than they can in any other form of media.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Strategy matters, too often the interactive world is filled with the “ready, fire, aim” approach and significant dollars and opportunity are lost in the process. Depending on the size of your organization you may need a strategist full-time or an interim practitioner, not a consultant, to come in and move your organization forward.
It is amazing how few organizations are really doing this well, considering the potential ROI from doing it properly. This is the most cost effective form of advertising available in any medium and the longer you wait to institute best practices, the harder it will become to get results.
Your SEO / SEM expert(s) will provide both natural and paid search services, to maximize awareness / leads from a minimum possible investment. Including but not limited to, keyword advertising / ranking, keyword bidding, copy optimization. Doing so across multiple platforms, while reporting on success / ROI and managing continual improvement.
Online Media Buying and Planning
The complexities of online media buying, planning, tracking and reporting are daunting, here there is no substitute for experience. The latest in online advertising options include geographically and behaviorally-targeted marketing. The challenges of building and launching a successful online ad campaign have grown as have the rewards of doing it properly.
A well thought out e-mail marketing team, starts with the realization that subject matter experts are needed and in great demand. The ability to take outside lead lists or an internal database and design, test, deploy, measure results and make necessary improvements is critical to long-term success. And that’s not all, reviewing creative to make sure messaging is consistent with core brand and CAN-SPAM compliant, while being a project management guru is a lot to handle. So in a nutshell: bring in the best to set strategy, plan and measure to maximize revenue.
Public Relations (Online)
This is much more than someone to write, manage and publish online content. This position is responsible for online messaging, including using guerilla marketing to leverage social media. It is also important for organizations to have someone who can help them to understand what makes content newsworthy. In a rush to be online, too many organizations are publishing content for content’s sake.
It is vital to measure, adjust and ultimately continually improve. Proper analytics gives you the knowledge and power to increase revenue and build a better online brand. Proper analytics programs include, online tracking, predictive analytics and segmentation, strategy, execution and reporting. Big question is do you have someone who can interpret the data and merge your online and offline analytics to properly focus your overall marketing mix?
In Part One we discussed from a basic perspective why it is so difficult for a CMO to drive success. Now we need to go farther into the challenges all CMO’s and those who hire them face.Some suggest that the average CMO tenure is closer to 24 or 28 months, in reality they are measuring too small a universe of companies.CMO tenure is a problem that only gets worse as company size decreases.Smaller organizations need marketing now more than ever, however they tend to have less of an ability to measure the ROI their marketing programs bring.As a result they tend to jump from one program to the next with no strategic marketing plan.
The CMO Dilemma:CMO’s face a common dilemma, do you focus on long-term innovation and maybe miss short-term goals or do you focus on the next ninety days and ultimately get passed by more aggressive competition?One thing is for sure, organizations with the best financial results have CMO’s who have been around a while and have a real seat at the table in the C-Suite.
How to recruit a new CMO:The biggest challenge in finding a new CMO is not all CMO jobs are similar.Unlike the CIO or CFO role, the CMO job actually can have more differences than similarities. We have identified 5 distinctly different CMO gigs, which means depending on who you hire if you are not aware of what type of marketing organization your company has your chance of success is 20%.Ultimately, not only do you need to identify what type of marketing organization you have, you need to recognize what kind of talent you have reporting to your CMO. The functional expertise of your existing marketing team will also change the type of expertise you need the CMO to have.Bringing in a new CMO is a huge opportunity, not just to bring in better talent, but to re-define what marketing needs to do for your company.Last thing in the world you want to do is bring in a new CMO and ask them to continue with the status quo that led to last person to leave in the first place.
One of our competitors has published a whitepaper on The Successful CMO.Ultimately the whitepaper leads companies down a path that will set the new CMO up to fail.In part of the whitepaper, they outline a CMO’s range of responsibilities and the reality is no one has a career with enough breadth of experience for them to come close to checking all those boxes.You get to be a senior marketer by being an expert in one area first and becoming a generalist later.This means there are one or two things you do extremely well, a bunch of things you are good at and a few things you have never seen before.Question is does your expertise as a marketer line up with the type of marketing organization you are walking into?If not, even the brightest mind will fail as the CMO gig does not offer on-the-job training.
Ultimately if you are inviting someone into the C-Suite, make it a big gig and hire someone who can exceed all expectations.If you only want advertising and marketing communications, then an SVP of Marketing will suffice.You will get passed by your competitors who truly understand the CMO is becoming more valuable everyday and the value they provide includes understanding consumer (or business) demand, product development, achieving top line growth and delivering on margin goals.
I have not met Bill Pearce, but I can tell I really like this guy.More importantly, Del Monte is fortunate to have his thinking in the CMO chair.His recent article in Ad Age, should be a hit with all CMO’s.Not only does he talk about the value of marketing, he also talks about the important relationships with your CEO and CFO.Managing these relationships and the expectations that come from them are critical to a CMO’s success.
Far too many companies have cut bone in their marketing department, which has brought marketing activity to a grinding halt.This has a double whammy effect as they will need to rebuild before they can recover.Fortunately Bill is not alone and the best CMO’s are finding ways to provide value for the money entrusted to them and are therefore being allowed to move boldly ahead.