"EasyJet scraps CMO role as Lis Blair departs"
Her departure has prompted the airline to restructure its board so that marketing, customer, digital and insight will now report into EasyJet’s chief commercial officer.
Blair was also passionate about pushing data driven marketing for the company and was behind the launch of its ‘Look Book’ function, which enabled app users to link from a photograph of a destination though to booking. She also restructured the marketing department to focus on data, recruiting a digital director and head of loyalty in her first six months as CMO.
What is the new normal?
None of us really know because the speed the world has had to adapt to this crisis has seen what we thought was normal turned upside down.
Due to the global impact of 'Covid-19' we're seeing daily turmoil and frantic scaremongering headlines, which in turn is creating anxieties and leading businesses to rapidly rethink not just how we might work, but what skills will be required, along with those that today might seem redundant post the Covid-19 crisis.
We're also being told that were heading for a potential recession, if so the advertising industry is just one sector that's not only in panic, it's now in freefall.
Companies whose revenues have been decimated by lack of income have no option but to become fiscally tighter. Consumers are doing something similar in fear of losing jobs, homes, and livelihoods so they're postponing discretionary spend of any kind - it's all filtering through to the worldwide economic infrastructure we once thought was impenetrable.
"Once, the marketing manager role encompassed research, strategic planning and the full suite of tactics to take a product to market. Today, we are increasingly the communications department. And little more". Marketing Week
Findings suggest that CMOs will have to significantly adapt to hold onto their positions, which is now opening up opportunities for the CMOs of yesterday to embrace the role of "CGO" (Chief Growth Officer) and look beyond typical brand advertising and digital communications.
The reason to hire a CMO is usually because you’ve got a big strategic problem to solve, you need to drive growth and become more innovative, or reposition the brand. That’s what the connotation would be in the CMO interview process.
What often happens in reality is ‘Deliver me a Q1 plan that drives growth of 3%’. The trap is that you’re hired for your thinking and strategy, but very quickly you discover what you are being asked to do is execute an existing sales and growth plan that post Covid is nigh on impossible.
This is something that when I sat in the CMO chair would be done in a collaborative way with the product development teams and my counterparts in the C-Suite as part of an internally aligned strategy.
Today, instead of being the marketing leaders that help identify the rationale for new markets and product development growth opportunities are judged on how efficiently (pre Covid) they spent most of their time blowing large ad spend budgets and spewing corporate creative vomit to feed the fraud ridden ad-tech platform frenzy.
As the world of business looks to go back about it's business CEOs will no doubt be expecting CMOs to be the "magic bullet" that can revive sales, grow market share and continue to inspire customers.
These many and varied demands will no doubt be often impossible for CMOs to meet, especially with reduced resource and without the availability of the bloated advertising budget which will inevitably lead to increasingly shorter tenures as results become nigh on impossible to deliver against.
It seems that the role of a Chief plate spinning commercially focused Growth Officer with the ability to pull golden growth rabbits out of magic hats might be the undoing of the pre Covid CMO?
Or does that set the scene for the CGO to focus on growth, innovation, and product development allowing for the CMO to remain focused on the delivery of the sales and marketing ambitions to communicate not just today's message, but that of tomorrows growth?
Her departure comes amid a crisis in the airline industry as it suffers amid closed borders due to the coronavirus pandemic. EasyJet has grounded all its flights, with 9,000 UK staff set to be furloughed and moved on to the government’s 80% average pay scheme. That impacts employees across the business, including in marketing.