Chief Marketing Officers Are "Living On The Edge"
I was recently asked by a formidable and very successful CEO just what, in my opinion a CMO should be focused on to ensure profitable investments and company growth. Of course, as you can imagine, I took a big gulping breath, smiled courteously while curtailing my own personal mixed emotions of always living on the edge through my sales and marketing career.
In a momentary flash I rewound my thoughts to long hours and even longer days through my sales and marketing career as CMO of ViewSonic, Samsung Electronics and Circuit City. In each of these roles I was privileged to lead the competitive market offense in either sales and or marketing. This duopoly in responsibility offered my teams the intended dignity and discipline of push and pull book ends designed to aggregate successful return on investment. In each of these roles I quickly realized that the acronym "CMO" really and truthfully stands for "Chief Metric Officer" -- hardly ever "Chief Marketing Officer."
As you know in business, it's all about the cold steel of the P&L (profit and loss); it's all about profitable turns; it's all about identifying and hyper-capitalizing on potential profit pools; it's all about competitive advantage warranted by smart, relevant, profitable investments. As Steven Tyler croons so well: for CMO's, it's really all about managing and leading "complication, aggravation"... always improving the competitive situation.
Just like the prophetic words from this twist and shout, rhyme and reason song, Chief Marketing (Metric) Officers also have a perpetual, sometimes uncontrollable situation. The aggravation is sometimes shoved rudely, crudely and unfairly by a CEO, COO or CFO when sales are down, when store traffic is weak, when product demand is anemic, when market share is dampened or lost, when return on investment is not obvious, or not realized.
Other times marketing aggravation is more like a sharp twist and yell, more like a maelstrom of unfair, un-quantified charges ignoring the truth of the matter: poor early investing in market research, poor product planning, weak product cosmetics, uncompetitive feature sets, price to brand value irregularities; too little too late. In essence it's not the wrong ambient marketing plan as charged, it's rather the wrong product developed and delivered by product management, the wrong brand-to-price proposition, the wrong decision at the genesis of product development, and perhaps even the wrong sales channel strategy.
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