No more CMOs: So now what?

No more CMOs: So now what?

On March 23rd 2017 Planet CMO was rattled by a magnitude 7 earthquake that struck  the Coca-Cola company - epicenter for CPG brands. The quake caused a major organization movement, Coca-Cola ditched the Global CMO role and shifted the marketing function under a newly-created Chief Growth Officer role. The goal - transformation to a “growth-oriented and consumer-centered” beverage company.

One year later, on March 28 2018, Cisco, one of the B2B masters in hightech,  named Gerri Elliott EVP and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer to align the sales and marketing organizations around the company's go-to-market strategy and growth opportunity. She will also oversee Cisco's brand and reputation in the market. The current CMO now reports to Elliott.

And to make the picture even more interesting, the 2017 Forrester Research prediction that some 30% of CEOs might fire their CMOs  became reality.

Let’s not spend time on the deep misunderstanding between CMO, Chief Revenue Officer, CEO and CIO. Every one of them has a different list of responsibilities, accountabilities and measurements for the marketing function. And some CMOs still derive their legitimacy from advertising and their status at the Cannes Lions.

“ So now what?”

McKinsey’s John Livingston and Steve Lucas, CEO of Marketo, advised the CMO to become a Chief Engagement Officer or Chief Experience Officer and lead the company in engaging with the customer. The CMO will own the customer engagement across the organization, and will interact with sales, services and support. Others believe it is in the Chief Digital Officer job description and the CMO is morphing into the CDO.

Deloitte describe the CMO of the future as a Jack of all trades able “to perform multiple roles—as customer champion, growth driver, chief storyteller, innovation catalyst, and capability builder—all while building bridges across functions and mastering the latest digital marketing technology.”

I have no opinion about the future of the CMO and I believe it is not important. Successful businesses, small and large, have fluid and collaborative organizations and job titles will soon be something of the past.

Once upon a time, I was a CMO, and for the last 10 years I’ve worked with passionate teams in startups and established companies on growth projects. We learned a thing or two...

  • Growth is the driver
  • Customers/consumers are expecting a personalized experience from first impression to retention
  • Products and solutions matter
  • Customer acquisition models need to scale and their cost clearly defined
  • Disruption and chaos are the norm
  • Complexity is your enemy
  • Time to strategize and execute is condensed
  • Digital and innovation are beyond buzzwords, they are tools to experiment, be agile, and stay ahead of the game
  • Technology is your friend: you can measure everything.  You can make sense of yesterday, today, and start predicting tomorrow
  • Have a higher purpose, your audience is hungry for inspiration
  • Passion is contagious

And now, go hack the project you really want to lead!


Manchester United vs. the Dallas Cowboys:  How sports define Business Culture

Manchester United vs. the Dallas Cowboys: How sports define Business Culture