Editor's Cut: Dear CMO Council members, I will never call you and say that unless you come to an event, your membership will be revoked.
That’s pretty much as plainly as I can say it.
In recent weeks, I’ve received some emails asking us about our “upcoming Summit” and questioning why our sales team would tell you that your membership would be at risk of being revoked should you choose to not pay $2,000 and attend the event. I have also been informed that these salespeople have been demanding outrageous membership dues that price in the thousands of dollars, explaining that access to “monthly meetings would be terminated” unless the fees were paid.
So instead of waxing poetic about some marketing thought that struck my fancy this month, I’d like to use this space to clear up some things. Let’s call it your definitive guide to being a CMO Council member!
1. The basic CMO Council membership fee is a whopping $0.00 USD. Depending on the exchange rate, you will pay an anywhere from zero to zilch dollars. The CMO Council has always—and will always—offer a free, by-invitation or by-nomination only membership. We do have a premium membership” that costs $499, but that program is totally optional. In the coming months, as we roll out a new and improved website, we will be announcing some new interactive features and peer-powered engagements that only premium members will have access to. But if you are being asked to pay anything over $499 for an individual membership to the CMO Council, hang up the phone. It isn’t us.
2. Your membership will not be revoked for not coming to a dinner or paying to attend a CMO Summit. That’s one of the most ridiculous ideas I think I have ever heard. The power of a peer-powered network is that you get out of it what you put into it…not what you pay for it. We will not be hosting a CMO Summit this year. Instead, we hosted an Elite Retreat in Orlando earlier in the year. Aside from that, let’s do the simple math: Our dinners (of which we host 70+ globally per year) welcome about 15 marketers per event, meaning that approximately 1,050 people dine with us each year, but we have over 10,500 members globally. So if the statements are true, I’d have to cancel the membership of roughly 9,450 people—I don’t think so. If you ever have a question about the standing of your membership, please call us, email us or even send us a tweet. But if someone tells that you your membership is at risk, tell them that Liz said it wasn’t…and when they ask you who Liz is, you should have your answer right there.
3. We don’t have a massive sales staff, let alone a sales team that sits in multiple locations. All of our global operations are headquartered out of our building in San Jose, California. Mary Anne Hensley, our guru of all things content, who will spend her time editing my nonsense to make it understandable, is based in New York. We have Advisory Board chairs and select country representatives that we are so proud to have represent us in places like Singapore to SãoPaulo, but we don’t have an army of salespeople. Our army is a guy named Bryan. He’s been my partner in crime for 10 years now. If he threatens you, then call me. He might be big, but I can take him.
4. We don’t have monthly calls. It might seem like we have weekly webcasts sometimes, but we don’t have weekly calls. And as far as being kicked off of our webcasts, again…why would I do that? We want your questions, and if you are a speaker, we want you to share your expertise and insights. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d only want to get everyone on a call or in a room when there was content to debate or ideas and best practices to share. If that’s once a month, okay. But if all we are doing is having a monthly call, I’m out. I have a J-O-B to do, and I know you are all in the same spot. So again, if someone calls and says anything about monthly calls, it isn’t us.
5. Finally, and probably most importantly, if someone calls or emails to tell you that something is a CMO Council event, is put on by the CMO Council or somehow could negatively impact your CMO Council membership—and you question whether that person is really with the CMO Council—ask to be put on hold and transferred to Donovan Neale-May, Liz Miller or Bryan DeRose. If they don’t know who we are—or even better, if they tell you that nobody by those names works there—it isn’t us.
At any time, if you have questions about the CMO Council, our programs, our content, our services or our events, you have an open invitation to call, email, tweet or even LinkedIn message me. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.
To the organizations who are making their business on the backs of ours: Stop. We know who you are…we’ve sent legal notices to you, and now, we’re going to let our members take it from here. There are lots of marketing-focused groups out there that are terrific and that I encourage CMOs to take a look at and consider. And then there are bottom feeders like you.
Our members are smart and won’t abide by your utter lack of content, insight or integrity. What you fail to understand is that the value of being a CMO Council member is being part of a network of peers, not a network of opportunists. So leave us alone. Don’t allow people to think you represent the CMO Council or any other legitimate network out there for that matter
And you should know—I’m not really that nice of a person. I think that should do as a warning.
Until next month!