Posts Tagged ‘CMO’

When the economy tanked a new synergy was born in the office. Controllers and accountants smiled as marketing cut down and integrated with other business office processes.

First, let me be clear: Marketing has to prove its worth in a business environment. Whatever metrics a business uses to qualify success has to be embraced by marketing as well. A direct correlation has to be made between a program or strategy and what impact it makes on the balance sheet.

But, the methods employed to get to the impact can’t be boxed in. Offices are great for regimented tasks, which are the backbones of businesses, however, marketing is not a regimented task. Ideas may strike at any time and an environment that encourages them should be striven for. Considering there are always deadlines, the constant flow of ideas should be of paramount importance. Professionals know how to cultivate the space in their head and still touch base with their immediate superior.

Just because the CMO is attending more meetings involving financing and IT infrastructure doesn’t mean that everyone in marketing should be handcuffed to a desk and fluorescent lighting. That’s what labor hierarchies are for. The CMO is depending on the marketing manager who is in turn depending on project managers. While these people are creative, they have to look at bigger pictures and provide direction. Any of these will provide valuable insight at a spitball meeting to hash out details. At some point it will fall to someone to actually make something though and that person needs the freedom to bring their A game.

It’s possible to have it both ways in marketing. Creative and business accountability, (Which can actually bring about more freedom if used correctly in proving wins for the department) it just may mean management does a little extra juggling.

To give you an idea of what the most creative people sometimes go through to produce works that have been proclaimed genius, take a look at this: http://the99percent.com/tips/7021/Why-Creative-People-Need-to-Be-Eccentric

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Most people who spend an adequate amount of  time on the Web indulge in some form of cyber stalking. (Even if it’s themselves to see how they show up in results.) For me it takes the form of places I’ve formerly worked or consulted at.

That’s why I was disturbed when idlly scanning just such a site recently. This company was a start-up and has had financial difficulties. They have pretty much stripped marketing of anything strategic, including the CMO.

Their redesigned web site is smartly designed, but still confusing to the uniniated consumer or business. (They go after both.) But the real faux pas is that they list a Blog section with the subheadings of PR and Industry News.

This is not the way to leverage the New Web Dynamic. It is merely trying to repurpose and rebrand old Web site tropes.

Whoever uses your product or service is in charge now. As a business you need to prove your worth in order to initiate transactions. You do this by giving back before you’ve even entered a dialogue. That’s what your Blog content does. Then it allows comments to encourage the start of a dialogue. Navigate this carefully and the result is not just one customer, but potentially anyone who is interested in the subject.

People don’t want PR shoved down their throat on a website. PR needs to do it’s proper job by appearing as news-related items on news oriented media. Likewise, don’t try to tout a section of your site as a newshub. Savy people know it’s just you shilling someone else’s PR. Redirect them to a proper newshub. (Even if it’s one hosted by you. Keep it a related, but seperate brand, and it will work more effectively.)

If you expect business generation from the Web, then you can’t be lazy about it. Work it properly. Keep up with the latest practices. Take advantage of every Web strategy available and don’t skimp by calling something a Blog that isn’t.

Marketing has gone from creative-driven and measured by impressions to company integrated and measured by revenue generation. Juxtapose that with the rise of Web 2.0 and how consumers are now driving the car. (If you companies don’t stop cramming your products down my throat I’m going to turn this car right back home!)

What’s a marketing leader to do?

The thing that I don’t see in the articles by marketing authorities touting the two extremes; balance. Recent longer-term success stories in the CMO arena show the position-in-question to have come from a non-marketing background. They firmly integrate marketing into the rest of the company and, oddly, become stern brand champions. (Not that it’s bad, but just strange, coming in with no marketing discipline.) They then lean heavily on the core marketing team to come up with creative flourishes and interpret Web 2.0 culture. They function as a true team and there is a constant ongoing dialogue between all parties. This allows things to constantly evolve and, even in bigger concerns on average, react to changes in consumer opinion and the marketplace quicker. 

I gave up on The Apprentice a long time ago. I have never bought Trump’s particular brand of Kool-Aid and the contestants seemed to go out of their way to give a bad name to whatever educational institution they graduated from.

I decided to watch Celebrity Apprentice for one reason,…Gene Simmons. Now, I had actually given up on Gene also, at least as a rock star. As a businessman, that’s another story. He’s relentless and has managed to keep himself and KISS in the spotlight now for 4 decades.

Gene quickly became the equivalent of a CMO for his team and he led them to victory over the opposition of women. Trump wanted to even things out and offered him a chance to make his star shine even more brightly by switching sides. His ego got the better of him and he did so. He became more brazen in his approach and bypassed certain business proticols in his pursuit of business as an extention of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. (A thoroughly overused practice as is following Machevelli’s The Prince.)

Gene wasn’t able to deliver and decided to fall on his sword as a result. (An honorable death, if such a thing is possible in shows like this.) Gene’s rise and subsequent implosion mirrors recent trade news of Wendy’s and KIA’s CMOs doing likewise. Believing your own hype and egostroking are no excuse for establishing and following best practices in advertising and promotion.

On the other hand there is the tall, quiet and laid back country singer Trace Adkins. He is always in on meetings with clients, listens intently and distills the essence of their needs down so that he can put a creative spin on it. What little time he does speak, you would be well to listen. He is the odd embodiment of business and creative melded together with his cowboy hat and pony tail. He has pulled his team’s fat out of the fire more than once. He is the new marketing asthetic; business oriented with a creative spin. He makes sure he understands the task and the client before he applies his talents towards a concept and presentation. He knows when to bring other people in for support to realize his ideas, he knows when to get out of their way and he knows how to utilize his time.

I’d be real happy to work with a guy like that. Who knew you’d find him hiding under Trump’s wild flap of hair?

The big turnaround in the marketing industry in the last couple of years has been to make it a legit business application. It has to justify its existence by directly attributing how much money it brings in vs. the amount spent. The idea was that marketing was being phased out because nobody could quantify it before.

Well, guess what; now marketing can be phased out becuase it can be quantified too much. Marketing has a big load to carry and part of it is not quantifiable. How does Brand enter into the picture? It’s not the sort of thing that you can pin exact dollars brought in by. But, in turn, do you dare ignore it because you can’t? (That’s a rhetorical question to those not already in marketing. YOU CANNOT IGNORE BUILDING A BRAND AND MAINTAINING IT.)

What about the crazy out-of-the-box thinking that we always hear marketing has? How many people can an extraordinary campaign bring in? What makes an extraordinary campaign? This is in that 50/50 part of marketing. There is a time and place for out-of-the-box thinking and there is not. That’s what the CMO is to ascertain. Market research is then what validates a campaign. (See Wendy’s ‘red wig’ commercials to see an example of what happens when the wrong decisions are made on all phases of this.)

Marketing has room to be more like the other departments of business, and it should, but it also has to never lose sight of why it was needed in the first place. Creativity. You can ROI that right out of the picture and when you do you can see the marketing department follow suit soon after.

The latest issue of CRM magazine (Jan ’08) has an interesting article on Wikis. More to the point; its use or non-use by many companies.

I can attest to a large company that currently uses a Wiki for their emergency response team, but not for their salesforce or engineers/contractors/floor production staff. Essentially this is because the leader of the ERT took it upon himself to set up the Wiki. Nobody in management or a leadership position to the other personnel apparently find it viable or time-efficient to do so. As a result, the ERT team is constantly honing their skills and increasing their productivity/effectiveness.

Conversely, productivity is lost in the other areas as skills and effectiveness are attributable to institutional memory and documentation of actual procedures is scattershot at best. (Much of what is documented takes into account the institutional memory and skips over items that neophytes will run into trouble with.)

Wikis can greatly increase the learning curve and serve as a receptacle for best practices, trouble shooting and strategies. Most importantly, they can be amended and added to in order to best enable company personnel to react to the changing environment of business.

For those not prepared to tackle creating a Wiki, there are solutions available for purchase. Some are designed especially for sales and others, such as Oracle’s offering, provide an integrated solution.

There’s no reason why sales shouldn’t know how to validate a lead, marketing shouldn’t know the correct use of a brand or the CMO couldn’t show his fellow execs new entries to illustrate the business climate and strategies employed. Wikis can do all of that. Why isn’t your company employing one?