The Future Is Now
When we first launched Global Marketing Network in 2006 we felt that technology would play an increasing role in the development and implementation of marketing strategies and that Marketing Professionals would increasingly require professional development support in this area.
As an organisation we too have had to improve our capabilities and competencies in this area and the launch of our new magazine and community in association with Vesey Creative, coupled with the launch of our new website in association with eBeyonds, is testament to this. Many people have contributed to these new initiatives behind-the-scenes and we really are most grateful and appreciative for all their support and contributions.
It certainly is fair to say that In the face of growing customer choice and market transparency, and the rise in the empowered consumer and digital and social media, the shift in marketing in recent years has been profound. Firstly in the era of mass marketing, the primary source of value for most companies was their products or brands. Today, through technological advances, value is moving to the customer interface.
So undoubtedly the Marketing Professional is becoming more important as organisations around the world strive to develop products and services that appeal to their customers and aim to differentiate their offerings in the increasingly-crowded global marketplace.
Perhaps not surprisingly therefore, marketing is being embraced increasingly in board rooms across the world. The position of the ‘chief marketing officer’ (CMO) is gaining currency. In recognition of this last year IBM released ﬁrst-ever Global CMO Study and is putting the CMO at the heart of its business strategy.
The marketer would therefore seemingly be well positioned to be at the heart of driving forward the business agenda. But as always, with added responsibilities become added challenges. The truth is that today’s marketers are having a hard time keeping up.
In recent years there have been countless calls from business leaders over many years for the Marketing Profession to raise its standards and become more professional.
As Distinguished Professor Philip Kotler – widely regarded as the father of modern marketing – has stated,
It is no secret that marketing organizations are under pressure. Chief executive officers are growing impatient with marketing…they feel that they get accountability for their investments in finance, production, information technology, even purchasing, but don’t know what their marketing spending is achieving.
And so it is an increasing concern – that whilst companies recognise they need good marketing, many simply do not trust those they have hired to do the job. The sad fact is that – to paraphrase the prophetic words of John Quelch – many CMO’s focus on the issues that do not keep their CEOs awake at night!
The perils facing the modern CMO have also been well-documented in recent publications such as Bloomberg BusinessWeek, McKinsey Quarterly, Fast Company, and others. Many have complained about CEO underutilisation of the CMO perspective in making important business-level decisions, charging that CEOs do not realise that the absence of a CMO perspective can negatively impact long-term organisational performance success.
Most recently MaryLee Sachs, Global Marketing Network’s CMO ‘Czar’ and author of ‘The Changing MO of the CMO’ wrote that
the role of the CMO is probably one of the least understood. Marketing is often seen as a “black box” confused with sales, and which is sometimes viewed as a financial drain on an organization, funding expensive advertising campaigns, sponsorships and other untold extravagant items.
And it is this confusion that is causing immense frustration over the role and performance of marketing which is permeating down through the marketing function and the people operating within it.
Given this degree of uncertainty there is a clear need to educate and inform the business community about the role of Marketing, to recognise and distinguish those Marketing Professionals who are committed to their continuing professional development and to equip the Marketing Leaders of today and tomorrow with the capabilities required to survive and thrive in today’s challenging business environment.
So, what of the CMO of today? How do we ensure that senior marketers are not left behind in controlling the future of the marketing agenda and are able to continue to rise through their career and be a critical player in the Boardroom?
MaryLee Sachs argues that the key steps to CMO success depends on four key issues:
- Assessing marketing capabilities across the organization
- Structuring the marketing functions to be more holistic and inclusive of new disciplines
- Unlocking the business potential associated with engagement and participation to drive brand advocacy
- Harnessing the power of creating internal marketing champions
In addition CMOs require new capabilities in strategic management and leadership, a deeper understanding of the empowered consumer and how to reach them through digital marketing and social media, an ability to create more profitable customers, a clearer evaluation of how to develop global marketing strategies and a better grip on the finances are all requirements for the CMO in today’s challenging 21st century business environment. Balancing the requisite short-term wins with the longer-term aims and demonstrating a return on marketing investment also becomes more of a challenge than ever before.
The good news is that according to Spencer Stuart, the average tenure for a CMO was up from just under 35 months in 2009 to 42 months in 2010. But beware of the average – it masks significant differences in tenure across industry sectors. For example, the life expectancy of CMOs in the highly competitive communications and media sector is just 22 months, and in the restaurant business just 25 months.
In their recent article “The CMO and the Future of Marketing” Professor George Day and Professor Robert Malcolm describe those CMOs who will rise to the intensifying challenge, and earn a “seat at the table” as “whole-brain” Marketing leaders – those who “ground their decisions in analytic realities, while painting a realistic vision for the company that bridges today and the future.”
So, with an estimated 20 million people worldwide working in a definable marketing role, the increasing need for business to take a marketing-led approach, along with widespread acceptance of the need for senior marketers to become more professional, there has never been a better time for Marketing Professionals to seize the initiative and make the difference.
It’s time for a change in our Profession. And that time is now. We look forward to you joining us in helping to create a stronger, better respected and more unified Marketing Profession, worldwide.
This post provided by: Darrell Kofkin FGMN
Darrell is the co-founder and Chief Executive of Global Marketing Network, the global accreditation body for marketing professionals. Leading its global development and expansion, Darrell works extensively with leading marketing academics and thought-leaders, Deans of international business schools, consultancies and global publishers. With over twenty years experience in marketing Darrell divides his time between the worlds of practice and academia and is a member of the visiting faculty for several UK universities, teaching the next generation of marketing professionals. He is currently writing his first book “The Marketer’s Global Survival Guide”, due for publication in 2014.
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