Saturday, June 9, 2007

The ongoing demise of CMO's

According to Spencer Stuart, the average tenure of CMOs at top-branded companies is only 23 months. CMO's have to face immense pressure to demonstrate results – fast – and often at the expense of the brand and its customers.

Many times, a new CMO sends the current advertising agency into an unproductive frenzy when they, upon joining a new company, immediately question their predecessor’s strategy. If the agency isn’t immediately fired (which often happens), an incredible amount of time is spent on the re-education of the new CMO — oftentimes as much as three months. Also, because advertising campaigns are tangible, new CMOs have a tendency to quickly look to the creative for a change in direction. Clearly, these knee-jerk course corrections, designed to demonstrate that the CMO is making an impact, are not only expensive propositions, but, more importantly, force the consumer to accept yet another brand positioning.

Agencies have to shift their thinking from pure creative to advertising that moves products. If you as an agency can't talk to C-level executives and produce work that moves product, more and more accounts will be put up for review. Clients have to understand as well that advertising can't be the savior. If you have a bad product, good advertising will be just another lipstick color and the pig will still be a pig.

Agencies and clients have to understand that they are in this together. Clients used to put products on the table. Agencies creative ideas. At this point, everything should be on the table: Product, Advertising, PR, Customer Service, Consumer Experiences.

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