The Chief Marketing Officer’s Challenge

The Chief Marketing Officer’s Challenge

Recently, it seems as though every time I turn around, there’s another new catch phrase or technology demanding to be seen as the centerpiece of marketing: mobile marketing, social media, customer experience, customer satisfaction as strategy, lead nurturing, QRCs, etc.

Corporations and marketers are diving head first into the technologies and trends as if they solve all marketing problems. And, of course, no one wants to be left behind.

Here’s the problem: As the mechanisms and technologies multiply, so do the corporate bureaucracies. There are social media managers, mobile marketing managers, customer experience managers, and on and on. All this, of course, is on top of the traditional product managers, corporate communications managers, Web masters, etc.

It is quickly reaching the point that all these managers are developing tactics that quite often overwhelm the organization’s marketing strategy. Each part of the bureaucracy sets out a “strategy” – mobile, social, etc. But, in fact, to be successful as an organization, each of these “strategies” should be considered tactics used to achieve the corporate goals.

Bureaucracies exist to be self-sustaining and expansionist. Turf wars develop. Chinese walls are erected to protect areas from intrusion from other areas.

Pity the poor CMO.

As technologies and communications mechanisms evolve and multiply – a trend that does not look to be slowing down – how can any reasonable person be expected to stay on top of it all? How can he/she be expected to ensure that the mini-strategies (tactics to the rest of us) actually coalesce into something that supports the corporate goals of increasing market share and ROI?

The CMO’s challenge for the 21st century is not merely to stay on top of marketplace trends and emerging marketing mechanisms, as it was in the 20th century. The challenge is to prevent mixed messages, fractured tactics, and the growth of mini-empires based on technology from overwhelming the whole.

The CMO’s challenge for the 21st century is to ensure the integration and unity of the entire organization’s marketing efforts. The CMO’s challenge is to prevent the dis-integration of marketing.

4 thoughts on “The Chief Marketing Officer’s Challenge

  1. Excellent post! I completely agree that tools should not drive strategy or structure, and that every manager, director or VP added can seed the crystallization of a fiefdom, a silo of self interest. Big organizations face the problem of getting good people to accept jobs that don’t have fancy titles and direct reports.

  2. Emily, its like I wrote it myself, I fully share your vision and concerns.

    marketing is under an avalanche of “new media, new technology” features….a puzzled one

    on one hand these are clear opportunities ….plus they are changing the landscape, customer trends, marketing funnel paradigms, you name it….so they cannot be ignored …

    on the other hand everybody talks about related “strategies”, ignoring many other aspects …and here starts the issue, because many of these are tactic level and should be considered only under the strategic framework

    so the role of CMO is to keep vision & strategic framework and coordinate all these, while preventing as you say the fragmentation of the Big Picture, and to keep the direction…its like adding new lights to the car…they help you see better, but don’t replace the wheels, nor the driving-wheel

    we have a word here….we can’t see the forrest because of the trees

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