CMOs must adapt or die in today's social media-driven marketing world, according to strategic marketing consultant Lisa Nirell, president of Energize Growth. In an article that first appeared in Fast Company earlier this year, Nirell wrote, "CMOs are struggling with seismic market shifts that threaten their careers."
(For a counter view, see the Forbes blog, "Why the CMO Role Is Not Facing Extinction." The blog also contains a link to a report on the American Management Association website, called "The CMO and the Future of Marketing.") It's all good food for thought as chief marketing officers and brand managers redefine their roles on several levels. And finally, in case you missed it, Forbes has a blog site called the CMO Network, which gathers articles from many sources on the changing role of the chief marketing officer.)
In her article, which also appears on her website, Nirell cites the following reasons CMOs had better begin some quick soul-searching if they want to survive. In edited excerpts from the original article, she writes:
Nirell also met privately with dozens of CMOs to learn how they are addressing these major shifts. Here's what she had to say about that:
"Their biggest frustration is their inability to win the hearts and minds of the C-suite. I believe their current perceived role is limiting them from reaching their true potential. When I reflect on the traditionally sought-after competencies for a CMO, an image of 'order taker and service provider' emerges. Unfortunately, that perception has three limitations: it has become outdated, if not extinct; it restricts marketing's true potential; and finally, it perpetuates the belief that anyone can be a marketing expert."
In response, she designed what she calls a "more contemporary set of criteria for CMOs" that includes a list of what she calls "Old CMO Competencies" and "New CMO competencies" - in other words, what CMOs must do to survive.
Summing up, she says, "CMOs are at a crossroads. Will they choose the path of least resistance (status quo), or embrace the role of revenue pioneers? Their choice will either accelerate or bury a company's business strategy growth plan."
Lisa Nirell is the author of "EnergizeGrowth NOW: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company." She has been helping B2B leaders drive sustainable growth by focusing on their customers and core values since 1998. Contact her at 703-888-1280 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a free chapter of her book, or to schedule a 20-minute CMO strategy session, visit her website and register for her free newsletter, EnergizeNews.
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