Strategic Design | marketing & branding thoughts by Nick Rice

Dynamic marketing, branding & design strategies that span the gap between business & creative.

Short Lived CMOs

Tom Peters has a great little post on the longevity of CMOs. More than 50% of the CMOs surveyed by Advertising Age have been in the job for less than a year.

Here's a quote from AdAge, "the job of CMO has become one of highest-stressed, shortest-tenured in American industry."

Here are some of the comments from Tom's blog:
  • Great CMOs are like big bursts of ideas, energy, etc. especially when they first join their new team. The burnout or departure (23.2 months) comes as a result of the following:
    #1-Not a good hire to begin with:
    *Not qualified
    *Not psyched about the brand
    *Qualified, but at odds w/ that corp.'s philosphy

    #2-Bad Company
    *CEO doesn't 'get' branding and isn't willing to hire someone who does...and let them do their job
    *Will hire an underqualified CMO...ultimately resulting in the burnout of said CMO
    *Great brand but bad philosophy on taking care of employees first, then clients (see Starbuck's, West Paces Hotels and other companies that care about their employees first) which causes the CMO (as well as plenty of other employees) to depart and find a better organization

  • My theory. These are highly creative people who innovate quickly. Large organizations typically don't do well with rapid change.

  • My hunch is most CMOs are good at dealing with traditional media such as TV and newspaper, which are basically declining and not any longer effective. With the new media like social media and blogging, the traditional CMOs probably need to change thier minds sets 180 degrees.
My two cents; most good CMOs are change agents. They tire quickly in maintenance mode. Unfortunately, ~2 years is not long enough to ensure that his/her changes will be effective (you need at least four to see significant repeatable consumer/organization change). And that's good and bad. Good for the individual because they leave for a better paying gig before they can truly be measured; bad for the employees and shareholders because if successful it may be a flash in the pan without the right team to keep up the forward momentum and bad because the business has invested a lot of time and money in someone that has put them further behind. This is why a lot of CEOs do not respect career marketers or invest in discipline of marketing.

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