The Chief Marketing Officer is Dead. Long Live The CMO | #MyFridayStory №119

There have been many disruptive innovations that have turned existing markets on their heads, while creating completely new markets as well.

Companies like Uber, Airbnb and Tesla have been around for 10 years, 11 years and 16 years respectively. All disruptors in their market category. From banking and financial services, to tourism and book publishing, the list of industries affected by technology is endless.

And with every disruption, there are casualties and winners.

The winners are those that embrace the unicorn for its innovation and greater functionality. The losers are like the riding crop manufacturers of the early 1900s. They refused to slow production while mass-produced cars were rolling off production lines. Industries and corporations that are unable to adjust, are soon left irrelevant.

Kodak is an example of a brand with the same myopic view. Their refusal to accept the threat which digital technology posed on their celluloid film empire, caused their eventual demise. In January 2012 Kodak filed for bankruptcy. In contrast, in 1996 the company was worth over $31 billion. At the time Kodak was the 5th most valuable brand in the world.

Marketing has grown in scope and spawned some brand-new marketing roles. The skills required have boomed, higher learning facilities are struggling to keep up. Designing new courses, diplomas and degrees is ongoing. Titles such as Social Media Manager, Web Content Writer, Search Engine Optimisation Specialist, Business Data Analyst, Marketing Strategist, Creative Designer, Market and Consumer Research Specialist, show the proliferation of roles.

In an online article in Median entitledAre CMOs Losing Their Vision in 2020?Marcel Deerdiscusses why the average CMO tenure has shrunk to 3.5 years. There are a few causes. The new CMO is also Chief Customer Officer, Chief Brand Officer and CXO to name a few.This has caused a blurring of the role. That lack of clarity is causing a disconnect with the rest of the members in the boardroom.

In an HBR article titled, How Marketers Can Overcome Short-Termism” by Christine Moorman and Lauren Kirby, they uncover a sinister reason why CMOs should be concerned. In an August 2019 CMO Survey marketing leaders were asked:

“How much time do you spend managing the present versus preparing for the future of marketing in your company?”

They reported that 68.5% of their time was spent “managing the present” and only 31.5% of their time on “preparing for the future.” This finding holds across company size, sector, and industry.

They identified 4 drivers causing marketers to focus on the present at the expense of the future:

1. Pressure for short-term earnings

Marketing’s role is often viewed as a lever for driving short-term ROI. Long-term growth and building brand equity is negatively affected.

2. Too few strategic roles

Marketers are often assigned tactical roles, such as managing social media or promotions. Without a presence in the C-Suite, their influence on strategy is negligible.

3. Role ambiguity

Only one-third of senior marketers felt their role was “very clear.” Without having clarity of their role, they tended to look for short-term results.

4. Marketer compensation structure

On average, almost 20% of a marketing leader’s compensation is made up of an annual performance bonus, plus another 8.2% in company equity. Such short-term rewards make it difficult to focus on building long-term equity.

With all this turmoil, you would think the role has become too toxic to touch. In fact, the opposite is true. Marketers who responded to the disruption, are thriving. The need for professional marketers in the current environment has never been greater.

The benefit of having a professional strategic marketing expert on your team — as an employee, a consultant or part-time — gives your company the upper hand in today’s competitive economy.

Have an awesome weekend! 😄

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it tremendously 🙏

Originally published at on July 19, 2020.



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