There is a joke going around that says CMO stands for "Career Must be Over".
But a lot of Chief Marketing Officers find that joke less than amusing. The best jokes contain a thread of truth, and the truth is that marketing leaders are having a tough time these days. Here's why . . .
The business world is constantly changing as it adapts to new conditions in the marketplace. But marketing is changing, too, largely due to the influx of new media that has occurred over the past few decades. While marketing used to deal mainly in mass media venues like TV and print, today's media outlets are much more diverse. Marketing leaders either need to learn how to swim in a sea of new media outlets or drown trying.
Although technologically savvy marketers have an advantage over their less knowledgeable peers, any leader can succeed in today's marketing environment as long as they are willing to adapt their marketing strategy to current media realities. In essence, marketing leaders need to adopt new ways of thinking in order to remain effective.
The old marketing world was characterized by one-size-fits-all methods of communication. Broadcast and print venues dominated the scene because most people received information from these media outlets. But the information age has ushered in a new era where consumers access information from a diversity of sources including the internet and other new technologies. To succeed, marketers need to target multiple efforts toward specific types of consumers rather than trying to reach everyone through a single medium. Effective leaders consistently push marketing strategies that leverage diverse mediums, blending the latest technology with proven concepts.
In the past, marketers tried to reach the masses with their message. Nowadays, the most effective marketing leaders aim their message at individuals and leverage communication tools that are capable of reaching consumers on a much smaller scale. In some cases, marketing leaders are even devising strategies to create unique offers and promotional campaigns for individuals in the marketplace. Marketing leaders help their companies maintain a focus on individual consumers through marketing strategies that increasingly appeal to personal tastes and preferences.
Marketing departments don't exist in isolation. Yet many marketers create campaigns that are built around their own agendas, rather than their companies' goals and business plan. Since highly competitive markets demand a cohesive strategy to reinforce branding efforts, marketing leaders are very concerned about matching their campaigns and strategies to the company's vision and goals. Although this can be challenging in a changing media environment, maintaining a tight public image across all marketing mediums is vital for success.
Unfortunately, there is no primer or accepted model for marketing in the age of new media. With new communication mediums emerging at lightning speed, the most effective marketers are those who are capable of thinking on their feet. Marketing leaders are comfortable thinking outside of the box and know how to encourage others to do the same.