Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Monday’s post looked at some of the challenges facing the CMO today. The common thread is that we must all adjust to the new media world, and in doing that we may find our jobs changed. The EIU report quotes the IBM SVP of Marketing and Communications as saying:

Some long-standing advertising agency partners are still figuring out how to help their clients make the necessary transition. The marketing agencies and the advertising agencies are really having a rough time, not embracing the new methods, but making money from them, says IBM.s Mr Iwata. Although virtually all traditional advertising agencies tout their new-media skills, some are relying on old-media business models and profit margins. For example, some agencies offer to produce podcasts and YouTube videos for clients, just as they produced print advertising and television spots. Yet they still charge clients tens of thousands of dollars, he notes, for new-media content that costs next to nothing to produce. And the clients who don.t know better say, .What a bargain compared to prime-time television. (p 17)

Ouch! I can vouch for how careful we need to be when buying services of any kind. I just ran into a situation where two services firms were offering essentially the exact same product but the charge differed by tens of thousands of dollars. Quotes for custom work often vary widely; that’s not a surprise. But I was surprised to find so much difference between two products that seemed to offer exactly the same functionality.

Mr. Iwata has been in the “chief communicator” job at IBM since July. The combination of marketing and communications under a single senior executive is interesting, especially in the light of what this study says. I looked around a bit more and found an excellent video done at the PRSA convention in October. Mr. Iwata talks about his perspective on how to meet the challenges—a worthwhile 5 minutes!(but you may have to go to the Nov. 22 post and pause that video; sorry!!)

With his comments about technology and social media being embedded into business models of all types today, the recommendations of the report make a lot of sense. They see they job of CMO morphing into a CCO in the sense of John Iwata at IBM. This gives the CCO a leadership role in:

• Defining and instilling corporate values
• Building and managing relationships among a multiplicity of stakeholders
• Enabling the enterprise with new media skills and tools
• Establishing trust with all constituencies.

A while paper by the Arthur W. Page Society calls this “The Authentic Corporation” (download from this page.) I’m writing this on the day that CEOs of the American auto makers are driving to Washington for another round of Congressional hearings, so the conclusion of this report seems especially prescient. They say that corporate:

actions and reputations, which used to be safeguarded by a cadre of professionalized functions, are now the responsibility of everyone in the enterprise. What used to be controlled within the company’s “four walls.” Is now spread across multiple partners, communities and individuals around the globe. (p. 6)
A tall order for all of us, especially the CMO/CCO!

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