Long before this pandemic the role of the CMO was being questioned.
Covid has shone an extremely bright light on the ability of the CMO to deliver growth when resource and marketing (advertising) budgets have been decimated.
As the role sleep walked over the programmatic years into downgrading itself as the 'company bullhorn' it seems that CEO's and dare I say it, employees and shareholders alike were asking themselves just where is the value?
Tenure of the CMO has become shorter over the years (average 18 months) due in the main to confusion around the role and it's place in business growth and transformation.
As such we see a constant turnstile of leaders in multi-channel retailing (other sectors do apply) in particular CEO's and CMO's who leave one failed company with a chunky pay-off and pre-Covid end up in another struggling business and repeat what they did before - we all know what comes next!
Forrester in a 2019 report said that, while "not foretelling an end to the CMO role, we do see a stage set for a desperate fight for survival."
The onset of the digital era broadened the duties of CMOs in a big way, as marketing was entwined with data and the full customer experience.
Forrester's report highlights the case of KFC, where the CMO controls innovation, marketing, operations, media and sales, a breadth of control that "allows ideas to come to life quickly and be delivered to customers with strategic agility."
Now that's a lot of juggling and requires a clearly defined and proven skill set, something that goes way beyond managing a marketing 'communications' team and managing and advertising budget.
I see it all the time especially from the C-Suite who operate a 'do as I say - not as I do' mentality around the growth and use of social media.
We never hear from them (the CMO) unless they suddenly want to inform us they have moved onto yet another lofty position, or as is the case today due to Covid 'HELP I NEED YOUR HELP!'.
The role of the CMO was challenging long before this moment, though. The pandemic adds another layer of difficulty to the complex job, but many issues have existed for years.
As the scope of the role gets broader and makes being a CMO trickier, some companies are shifting how they see the position entirely.
A few changes in the role include companies dropping the CMO position altogether, hiring chief customer officers for CMOs to report to, or introducing new roles to either replace or work in conjunction with the CMO.
Marketing transformation today has more to do with a better understanding around how, where, and why your potential customers are wanting to access information about your product and company - for most of them, regardless if your in B2C or B2B happens to be via 'Social Media'.
Today they are wanting to do this in a way that doesn't include trying to navigate your website funnel, or going to Google.
It's certainly not just about 'martech software' that will probably change very little, just like that last 'software' initiative your company embarked upon.
With 60% of people on one social platform or another around the world simply handing social media to the guy with the beard, or the girl with the tattoo in marketing doesn't really cut it today.
Social media requires a strategy that sits across the entire business enterprise - WHY?
Because that's how today's social savvy consumer 'experiences' what you say you do.
The year started off tumultuously for CMOs, with multiple hirings and firings at top brands just two months into the year. And that was before the coronavirus outbreak, which has made the chief marketing role even more difficult as brands try to strike the right tone when they engage with consumers.