Redefining the Role of the CMO

Highlights of a Panel at the Media Convergence Forum featuring:

  • Jeff Hayzlett – Chief Business Development Officer, Eastman Kodak
  • Russ Klein – President Global Marketing Strategy, Burger King
  • Nicholas Utton – CMO, E-Trade Financial

Role of the CMO faces evolution and reinvention unlike any of the peers of the CMO.

What the CMO role mean to each of you?

Jeff – My role as the CMO of the company is to create “tension” to move the organization and brand in a massive way. If I stop creating tension or pushing the envelope – I will be fired. And whenever someone says I am getting a little to edgy I show them the – ExtendedStay viral video – that usually works.

Nick – My role was to guide us thought a crisis time where we launched a 10M ad campaign to stem redemptions and customer defections – now our customer numbers are up, revenue are up, retention is up – CMO role is about acting when the chips are down!

Russ – CMO role is defined by being the best all around athlete – it takes the Power of Versatility. The Burger King was a brand people “knew more than loved” – I needed to turn that around – re-mystify the brand so consumers would reengage with the brand to become a “brand people would love to know more about” Digital was a perfect choice for that. Moved past the banner ad quickly to get into “content generate share of voice” rather than buying eyeballs.

Messaging in the digital world

Nick – web is our storefront – need to try to get more customers engaged with our brand online – I don’t have the fortitude to pull all the print and ad dollars offline. Don’t care about the price of media as long as it meets the target CPA.

Jeff – Moving the business model from broadcast to a narrowcast model. There is a 400 employees twittering with Kodak in their name – have to acknowledge how the brand is being using – don’t necessarily condone it or endorse it. The Apprentice integrated campaign mentioned Kodak 4.4 times per minute for 43 minutes – to make it more relevant to end users – making it more branded content.

Russ – there is user generated content which we love to fuel but there is “Content Generated Share of Voice” – if you get a 1/2 Billion hits on a viral video – what can you do to get that to spread? You create more content that is inviting and give them that content – it’s no different than the old P&G ad of the next 30 mins has been brought to you by P&G. Whopper Freakout – that spawned lots of parodies on YouTube – got a lot of hits and generated tons of traffic on the web. We love to see that stuff happen.

What advice would you give a CMO if you met them in an elevator?

Russ –Versatility – beyond the expected things – get smart on it fast
Nick – If you don’t take care of your customers someone else will
Jeff – Just go and get it done – no one is going to die!

6 comments to Redefining the Role of the CMO

  • Tracey

    Very interesting responses; however, I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t define the role more clearly. That is, rather than saying what the role is “about” or what they achieved, what are they actually responsible for? We know that the CMO position is one of the highest-turnaround positions in corporate America. Could it be because the role is not as sharply defined as it should be – making it understood that it’s a critical function?

  • Chris Herbert, B2B Specialist

    In the B2B world a CMO is responsible for generating revenue, building a strong reputation in the markets the company serve (branding through references and customer success stories), creating new and strengthening relationships and finally bringing to market relevant products and services that generate results. Here’s a post from my blog that provides more detail:

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Tracey

    Good point – you are right – they did sort of do a “Palin” and answered their own questions.

    There was also an undercurrent of them changing their title from CMO to something else – they were kidding the Etrade CMO that he needs to change his title from CMO before the standard 23 month tenure is up

    thanks for commenting

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Chris

    Great blog post – nice work – thank you for commenting and I will be following your blog going forward

  • David Kinard, PCM

    With generic responses like theirs, it’s no wonder that CMOs last less than two years in their roles — half that of what a CEO can expect.

    I had the chance to interview David Aaker, vice-chairman of Prophet, and author of the released-just-this-week book Spanning Silos: The New CMO Imperative. I was surprised to find out that most CMOs start with the goal of centralizing and standardizing — which often leads to their early burn out. Aaker suggest that the role of the CMO is to coach, consult, facilitate, and work to span those silos, creating more collaboration than forcing cooperation.

    You can listen to a podcast of the interview at http://www.wsradio DOT com/internet-talk-radio.cfm/shows/Marketing-News-Radio/archives/date/selected/10-29-2008.html

    — David Kinard, PCM
    Host, Marketing News Radio

  • Paul Dunay

    @ David

    great point! – thanks for the podcast – I will check it out

    and thank you for commenting

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