I recently had the opportunity to speak in the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland. While there I was interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster regarding my take on how to deal with the economic downturn facing some companies and industries. You can listen to the interview if you like.
While speaking to one of my audiences we got on the subject of CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) tenure and the fact that it is so short (19-23 months according to various sources). I pointed out that the CMO position (as a separate and distinct person) exists primarily in large, publicly traded companies and that one reason I believed that the CMO has short tenure was due to the combination of two things:
- When their company experienced difficulties making their sales and profit goals, the CEO was expected to take action
- Since the CMO position was not well understood or valued by Wall Street, it was a position the CEO could either eliminate or change thus appearing to be taking decisive action without scaring the Street.
One member of the audience, Aiden Gordon of Jardine, Lloyd, Thompson, Ireland Ltd. had an insightful idea to share. He suggested that the main reason for CMO turnover was that too many of them followed a three step process:
Whether your company has a distinct person with the title of CMO or a Marketing function tasked with helping increase revenue and company value, that function must be tied to identified business outcomes so that you can tell if Marketing is helping the company get closer to its goals or just further from the start (to paraphrase our Principal, Bayard Bookman’s favorite line).