CMO Success Hinges on the Company’s Marketing Culture

Marketing success is a corporate venture rather than a solo role carried by the CMO. The CEO, CFO, the board and every employee in the organization exist to make the company a successful selling machine.

Lately I’ve read reports that celebrate the fact that CMO tenures are increasing to a little better than two years (as if 28 months was something to brag about). The question is why?

One report suggests that the CMOs are “increasing their alignment with their C-suite peers,“ hence the increase in tenure. That is balderdash!

The more likely scenario: the economy is improving and CMOs are getting a reprieve.

I think external factors and the companies themselves affect CMO tenures more than the CMOs.

This leads me to the conclusion that CMOs must strive to ally themselves with great marketing companies if they want to improve their tenures well beyond where it is now. What do I mean by that?

Great marketing companies‘ cultures support the hypothesis that marketing success is a corporate venture rather than a solo role carried by the CMO. Only then is true CMO success achievable.

The Apples of the world are rare. It is clear that every one in the organization is there to serve the customer from CEO, Tim Cook all the way down the line. And their sales results and customer service ratings clearly reflect this as one of Apple’s prime missions.

As a marketer, I long for more opportunities to associate myself with such forward looking enterprises. And truly successful CMOS go to great lengths to find them and work for them.

The CEO and all company leaders in such organizations understand what Peter Drucker said long ago: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business."

The bottom line: no CMO can succeed in his mission until it becomes everybody’s mission in the company he works for.

Posted on March 19, 2012 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy, General.