Are CMOs in crisis or in clover? | Mumbrella360 video

In this video from June's Mumbrella360 conference, a panel of industry experts sink their teeth into the issues plaguing CMOs in today's market, and attempt to resolve some of the profession's biggest bugbears.

Moderator Al Crawford explains how in order to complete research for the session, he “went to the internet and discovered some rather doom-laded statistics” about CMOs.

These included the unfortunate fact that 80% of CEOs don’t trust or are unimpressed by their CMOs, 74% or marketers say their jobs don’t allow them to maximise their impact on the business, and CMOs currently have the lowest tenure in the C-suite.

Nicole McInnes, chief marketing officer, OVO Mobile posits her answer to the first statistic, saying: “The root cause of that statistic is that CMOs don’t often speak the language of CEOs.”

According to McInnes, CMOs need to learn how to use numbers to back their beliefs up, just as a CFO would.

Jon Bradshaw, founder and CEO at Brand Traction agrees that CMOs have it tough in the current market, but tells the audience that the situation is ultimately a problem of their own making.

“It is the toughest I’ve seen it in marketing in the last 15, 20 years, in terms of how the profession is perceived by its piers,” he says. “But that is a crisis of our own making and the solution is in our gift – we’ve just got to tackle some of these issues that we’ve got. It starts with having a conversation with CEOs and CFOs about the business of the business and not the marketing of the advertising.”

The struggle is real but AANA CEO John Broome believes that although CMOs at smaller companies tend to have a great relationship with their CEO, there are nevertheless “some guys who are in real crisis. These tend to be the larger companies.

“These guys are really struggling with how to break through with a growth strategy. When that struggle is going on, that’s where the discontent and disquiet happens within the leadership room.

“The CEO looks to the CMO as that panacea – show me the way forward out of this problem. And then on the sidelines the CFO might be quipping ‘we’re going to miss our numbers this month.'”

The unfortunate meme whereby the marketing team is referred to as the “colouring in department” is both “offensive and incorrect”, adds Naomi Shepherd, group industry director at Facebook. “If all you’ve got is a box of crayons to get yourself out of a bit of a disaster then you’re in trouble.

“If you look even deeper it’s probably a bigger problem than that, which is that CMOs are given all of the responsibility but none of the control.

“We see it time and time again, where CMOs are on the cusp of doing something great, and changing some type of customer experience to improve it and make it better. It might involve changing the website in some way and the CTO will sweep in and say ‘that’s my domain, I look after the website, you couldn’t possibly touch the UX design there.’

“It’s like they’re responsible for a whole garage of cars but they’re only getting thrown the keys to the Mazda.”


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