The Chief Marketing Officer’s Challenge

The Chief Marketing Officer’s Challenge

Recently, it seems as though every time I turn around, there’s another new catch phrase or technology demanding to be seen as the centerpiece of marketing: mobile marketing, social media, customer experience, customer satisfaction as strategy, lead nuturing, QRCs, etc.

Corporations and marketers are diving head first into the technologies and trends as if they solve all marketing problems. And, of course, no one wants to be left behind.

Here’s the problem: As the mechanisms and technologies multiply, so do the corporate bureaucracies. There are social media managers, mobile marketing managers, customer experience managers, and on and on. All this, of course, is on top of the traditional product managers, corporate communications managers, Web masters, etc.

It is quickly reaching the point that all these managers are developing tactics that quite often overwhelm the organization’s marketing strategy. Each part of the bureaucracy sets out a “strategy” – mobile, social, etc. But, in fact, to be successful as an organization, each of these “strategies” should be considered tactics used to achieve the corporate goals.

Bureaucracies exist to be self-sustaining and expansionist. Turf wars develop. Chinese walls are erected to protect areas from intrusion from other areas.

Pity the poor CMO.

As technologies and communications mechanisms evolve and multiply – a trend that does not look to be slowing down – how can any reasonable person be expected to stay on top of it all? How can he/she be expected to ensure that the mini-strategies (tactics to the rest of us) actually coalesce into something that supports the corporate goals of increasing market share and ROI?

The CMO’s challenge for the 21st century is not merely to stay on top of marketplace trends and emerging marketing mechanisms, as it was in the 20th century. The challenge is to prevent mixed messages, fractured tactics, and the growth of mini-empires based on technology from overwhelming the whole.

The CMO’s challenge for the 21st century is to ensure the integration and unity of the entire organization’s marketing efforts. The CMO’s challenge is to prevent the dis-integration of marketing.

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