Crossing the Great CEO - CMO Divide

If CEOs think CMOs cannot align marketing program results to KPI (Key Performance Indicators), how does this impact Customer Communication Management (CCM) sales techniques and user adoption? This subject will be covered in more depth during Monday’s 3:00 pm GRAPH EXPO Theater (Booth 3457) session “Understanding the Role of the CMO and Adjust Your Business Strategy.”

This topic from the July 25 edition of the OutputLinks newsletter—“Can CMOs Successfully Promote TransPromo Opportunities? CEOs Say No!”—elicited much thought and many comments from the high-volume transaction output (HVTO) community. The source study for the post, a June 2011 survey of 600 CEOs in North America, Europe, and Asia by the Fournaise Group, stated that most CEOs did not think that CMOs were strong business people, and that CMOs were unable to align marketing program results to the key metrics of their businesses.

Tantamount to yelling, “The Emperor has no clothes,” the findings were controversial, not only for those of us in HVTO, but also for members of many LinkedIn marketing and executive groups, as well as readers of Marketing Week, which published a June 15 article upon the release of the study. Comments (paraphrased) have ranged from, “...not true,” to “...so true,” and “... it’s the CMO’s fault” to “it’s the CEO’s fault.”

Clearly, whether one agrees or disagrees with the Fournaise survey findings, such an indictment of the CMO function is sobering, and it forces us to consider the implications, especially as they impact the HVTO industry. The first obvious question is does this CEO – CMO disconnect really exist?

Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments (and former CMO), in a recent Marketing Week interview stated, “There are very few marketers below the senior level who get to see the whole picture. And even at a senior level, few marketers carry the responsibility for profit and loss. People in marketing roles get siloed very quickly these days.”

Two considerations relevant to HVTO come to mind immediately:

1. Will the CMO be an effective internal advocate/champion/decision maker for Customer Communication Management (CCM) marketing initiatives such as transpromo and cross media marketing?

2. When proposing CCM initiatives to enterprises—TransPromo, Cross Media Marketing, Campaign Management, etc.—whom should the internal champions and the HVTO vendors address in the “buying center,” the CEO, the CMO, or others?

As the VP Worldwide Channels at GMC Software AG, I host a regular blog on this topic at OutputLinks.com.

This subject also will be covered in more depth during Monday’s 3:00 pm GRAPH EXPO Theater (Booth 3457) session “Understanding the Role of the CMO and Adjust Your Business Strategy.”

OutputLinks Communications Group provides access to the fullest array of industry suppliers, resource providers, research and information from around the world. Visit www. OutputLinksCommunciationsGroup.com

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