ZEITGUIDE TO THE FUTURE OF THE CMO
When we published ZEITGUIDE 2018, we discussed how CMOs need to become CGOs: Chief Growth Officers. By tying growth to marketing, this role can better highlight the return on investment.
Brad took this idea one step further at the Brand Marketers’ Creative Summit at Cannes Lions this past week by suggesting that CMOs can be even more valuable to their organizations by becoming CVOs: the Chief Visionary Officer.
There may be no more challenged position in the C-suite than that of the Chief Marketing Officer. Note that …
—As executive-search and leadership-consulting firm Spencer Stuart found, CMOs average a scant 44 months on the job. That is the highest turnover of all C-suite executives.
—A global survey of CEOs by the Fournaise Marketing Group revealed that 80 percent of them don’t trust, or are “unimpressed”, with their CMOs, whereas only 10 percent feel the same way about their CFO or CIO.
—That sentiment cuts both ways: Harvard Business Review found 74 percent of CMOs believe they aren’t being allowed to exert maximum business impact for reasons ranging from unrealistic expectations to misaligned performance metrics
Something has to give. We suggest that the CMO think of growth not just in building a direct line to the consumer (DTC), but also use that knowledge for internal growth, what you might call direct to company (the other DTC).
Accomplishing this means assuming the mantle of Chief Visionary Officer. This role leads internal transformation via their expertise on the constantly changing business and consumer landscape, partnering up with the CEO, the C-suite and the entire organization to keep them ahead of the speed of change.
Here’s ZEITGUIDE’s checklist to help CMOs accomplish this transformation.
1. Grow your relationship with your consumer: It’s only getting harder to break through the clutter and connect with your audience, making it all the more important to nurture, and strengthen, that connection once it’s established. For many brands, that means honing direct-to-consumer offerings for a direct conduit to the customer and knowledge on who they are. It requires delivering a great experience and creating a 24/7 everywhere-to-everyone brand.
2. Grow your value to your customers: For companies with a B2B focus, it’s a matter of helping your clients to be better at their own jobs. What can you provide that can help save their time and cost? By honing offerings that improve performance and efficiency for their consumers, B2B brands gain useful insight into how they need to transform their own organizations as well.
3. Grow your indispensability to the C-Suite: CMOs can become more valuable by keeping the CEO, and the rest of the C-Suite, prepared for what’s next, as well as utilizing their creative thinking and storytelling skills to help others create a vision for the future.
4. Grow your EX: What an organization can accomplish is only limited by the talent it can attract and its ability to get the most out of those people. It’s imperative to create a culture of learning, pull from a diverse pool of experiences and to hold up internally the values that a company expounds externally to keep teams growing and engaged.
5. Grow yourself: This last piece of advice works well for anyone. No matter your role, it’s critical to constantly push our own thinking and to see the world beyond right now. Or, as Grossman likes to put it, “Learn to think like a science fiction writer.”
“Turn a vision into reality by understanding what others may view as impossible,” says Grossman. “That’s creativity.”
A lesson to take to heart, whether or not you’re a CMO trying to become a CVO.
Want to learn more about ongoing business and cultural transformation?