Cmo tenure

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.What have you produced for me lately?  That’s the question that should be asked by senior marketers of their teams, agencies, vendors and selves. What have you produced?

The extravaganza that was the Super Bowl saw lots of things produced. Ads were produced, certainly. Actors were coached, editing suites rented, musicians composed, craft trucks rolled. Millions spent. And now bills will be paid (and unpaid) for months to come – all because things were produced.  At some point, probably around budgeting time for next year’s Super Bowl, someone will ask “What sales were produced?”

Let’s list the people who might answer that question with “Not my job.” The list will be pretty lengthy. It wasn’t long ago that the average tenure of a CMO was 18 months. Why is that?  Because it is the CMO’s job to produce sales. The CMO and the CEO.

The marketing business today produces lots of things – at the hands of many, many people. Isn’t it time CMOs asked and answered the question “Do the things we produce, produce sales?” Peace.

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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! 

 

 

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