Editor's Cut: CMOs, don’t all go racing out to your new titles…our jobs are HOT again!!!
In the 2005 “Hot Jobs” report from executive search firm CT Partners, finance and compliance roles like “forensic CFO” and “chief compliance officer” topped the list of hottest executive gigs. Turn the clock forward to 2015, and the CMO is at the top of the list.
The 10-year-old, CFO-centric view of hotness is not a shock as 2005 represented a massive year in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley world of compliance and regulatory demands. But over in the office of the CMO, we were hard at work earning the title of “most dangerous job in the C-suite” as another executive search firm, Spencer Stuart, revealed that the average CMO tenure in 2005 was 24 months…or 17 months if you were in the telecommunications space.
Enough has happened in the last 10 years to fundamentally change marketing—and the role of the CMO—forever. With digital marketing and the emergence of customer-defined engagement channels like social and mobile now setting the stage for where and how experiences are started, stopped and valued, it is a new landscape full of measurement, return and revenue. Today’s CMO is not just at the epicenter of the brand; the CMO is often at the epicenter of the business.
The CEO of CT Partners pointed out in the company’s media statement about the “Hot Jobs” report that “Businesses are looking for leaders who can not only understand the massive amounts of information available to them, but also identify the threats and opportunities that come as a result of this evolving landscape.” The report goes on to point out that “the ongoing transformation of this role dictates that CMOs with the most current capabilities will continue to experience strong demand for their talents.”
In short, it is time for the CMO to rise.
We all feel that we are at a crossroads as new titles crowd media headlines, proclaiming the death of the CMO and the birth of the chief business officer, chief customer officer or chief revenue officer. But as my friend and CMO Council Advisory Board member, Martyn Etherington, so eloquently put it during a recent webcast, “I don’t care what you call me, just as long as I own the customer and have responsibility for the business.”
The reality is that these new titles are often seen as artificially inflated, rarely holding actual C-suite responsibility or respect. It is, as I have said before, akin to seeing a brand fail and deciding that the real problem was the color of the logo. Lipstick, meet your latest pig.
The issue isn’t the packaging; it is arriving at a new definition of the role that appropriately and accurately depicts what so many CMOs are already doing for the business and on behalf of (and for) the customer. This exact issue is what drove the CMO Council to bring back its popular CMO Summit events. When the events started in 2001, they were intentionally designed to bring peers together to help shape, elevate and even celebrate the role of the chief marketing officer. Our theme and focus for this year’s three regional CMO Summit events will be “CMO Rising: Reshaping the Role.” We will spend two days focused on the intersection of talent, technology and transformation currently impacting the title and territory of the CMO remit.
You will hear us talking about these CMO Summit events a lot through the course of the year, and you will likely see our reports, papers and webcasts highlighting some of the bigger issues that will be debated in these sessions. These events bring back the original elite retreat for global senior marketing leaders who are interested in the latest and greatest thought leadership out there, but perhaps even more importantly, who actively desire to be part of the discussion that elevates marketing and the role of the CMO.
You can find some initial information about the CMO Summit at www.cmosummit.org, and we invite you to opt in for updates, including details about becoming a CMO Summit sponsor, information about our open call for speakers, and updates about registration dates and invitation processes.
So let’s all agree to stop trying to invent new names and instead turn away from fancy new wrappings like the chief business officer. We already are, thank you very much. And if you need proof, just ask our friends at CT Partners, who are itching to help those of us who are rising to connect with companies that are ready to hire their chief customer revenue business digital marketing officer.
See you at the Summit!