5 Things Chief Marketing Officers Need To Do To Stay On Top Of Their Game

Don Draper

Today’s average lifespan of a CMO is only 18 months (down from 23.2 in 2006). But there’s no reason for CMOs to sit back and idly wait for their 18 months to run out.

Just as you can increase your personal lifespan by implementing healthy changes and eliminating bad habits, CMOs may be able to double their tenure by following this simple plan. 

Think of this as getting a jumpstart on your New Year’s resolution.

Five ways for CMOs to lengthen that 18 months to 36 and much longer.

  1. Stop Worrying About Your Tenure: Part of the problem is that CMOs play defence. They spend a lot of time worrying about the chain of command, who reports to who and when the next board meeting is. They play too little offence because they’re afraid they’re going to ruffle some feathers, and then the next thing you know they become a statistic themselves. Get out there and be what your title says you’re supposed to be.
  2. Don’t Base Your Strategy On The Economy: Remember “Mr. T” in Rocky III? “Prediction? Pain.” You can’t be a CMO and base your strategy on an “if-then” economy. Don’t base marketing spend on the S&P 500. Base marketing spend and strategy on growing customer value, increasing marketing ROI and taking market share while your competitors play chicken with the stock market and latest Eurocrisis.
  3. Stop Experimenting With Digital Marketing:  Check the most recent Nielsen report on branding online. “It would be a mistake to assume that all ad networks or demographic models are created equal,” according to Nielsen. “It’s critical to measure the efficacy of delivery using campaign reporting to ensure the tools and audience are aligned with the premium pricing charged for that model.” Take note. The tone here is not one of testing and recalibrating. The tone is, “do it, and measure it properly.” The time for experimenting with digital marketing is over. The time for acting like a CMO, and demanding the right metrics, is on.
  4. Control Your Destiny: The best way to stay off the CMO scrap heap is to understand what you can control. Most great marketers share that. You control the message, the channel it will be delivered through, and the way you will measure the effort. You don’t control customer reaction or random events (see the economy).
  5. Measure Your Legacy: When you do get to that day when you decide to leave, get promoted, or they throw you out, what will they say about you? That you increased revenue? You controlled spending? Or you left some best practices and processes to do both? What’s good for the company is good for you. Make sure you have the tools to measure your impact.

Now it’s double or nothing.