The lifespan of a CMO is somewhere in the neighborhood 18-22 months. Who would want that job? I guess it pays well. The reality is chief marketing officers tend to be judged harshly by other C-level executives. They are Cs, but judged as Ds. Would you like to know why? (I bet you saw this one coming.) It is because they don’t have a brand plan and are judged based upon subjective criteria.
Many think a brand plan is a color scheme, or new logo and signage. Or a new ad campaign from the new agency.
A brand plan is so not those things. A brand plan is an organizing principle for doing business. As an organizing principle it provides direction for everything done on behalf of a brand. (Even hiring.) If a CMO has a plan understood and blessed by the CEO, then everything created by the CMO is pre-approved. No more looking at a blank piece of paper for marketing program inspiration. No more trotting out last year’s program and for updating. There is a strategic plan in place that gives form to all 4Ps. But most CMOs don’t have this tool. They have an Excel spreadsheet with a budget, sales goals and deltas (the diff between goal and actual). They have a marketing plan with line items for tools, functions and a KPI or two. If they are lucky the budget sheet and the marketing plans resolve to some sort of accountability (ROI), but that’s a rarity.
A brand without a plan metaphorically is like looking at a new home construction and blaming an ugly, dysfunctional house on the nails. “Less nails, next time.”
I know firsthand what CMOs face. And without a brand plan, sold in and sold firm, the clock on CMO tenure continues to tick. Peace!