The Digital CMO


Think average CMO tenure still hovers around 23 months? Think again. It now is 43 months, according to the latest findings from executive-recruitment firm Spencer Stuart, and it has been steadily gaining since its 2006 low of 23.2 months.

That 23-month myth remains a fixture, it seems, at marketing conferences and amid CMO-related banter, but it’s a thing of the past–at least for now.

To be sure, CMO tenure does vary, depending on industry: In the automotive industry, average tenure is indeed 25 months. Communications and media CMOs average 33 months. Meanwhile, CMOs in industrial companies log an average of 99 months.

But the role of the CMO is changing rapidly because of the rise of digital techniques, such as social and mobile, but also because of the ability to measure everything that is done.  Until the digital marketing revolution, marketing was generally speaking, unmeasureable.  “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker

But with digital techniques, everything is measurable. Feedback loops, segmentation becomes microtargeting, and optimizations can happen on the fly or even in real time. The relationship between investment and impact becomes correlated and causal — and the CMO becomes accountable down to the dime and moment by moment.  When it works, all are happy – when it does not, stress levels go way up as the search to make it work happens in near real time.

What does a digital CMO do differently?  They experiment aggressively. They hire smart digital natives — and empower them. They partner with great agencies. They have the humility to admit what they don’t know and the confidence to allow digital metrics to illuminate the results.

Gartner predicted that by 2017, the CMO’s technology budget will exceed the CIO‘s. Why? Because more often than not, it’s the CMO who is expected to drive the digital transformation, which is deeply dependent on technology.

Some CMOs are preparing for the digital revolution by filling the gap between expertise and authority. In other words, they have the self-awareness and the confidence to take bold action even when the context has shifted beyond their sphere of influence and scope of expertise. That is leadership. Others are afraid of the digital disruption – they will fail.

Content for this blog was sourced from the Harvard Business Review.  You can read the full article here.  http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/04/the_rise_of_the_digital_cmo.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

Webman

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