Monday, December 1, 2008

Whither the CMO?

One of the items that’s been sitting on my desktop for a couple of weeks is a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by Google. It’s entitled Future Tense: The Global CMO, and it represents the views of 263 CMOs from a survey in February 2008 (download the pdf from this page). A few days ago this report was joined by an interesting editorial in the WSJ that talked about the future that confronts the CMO. Put together they provide interesting guideposts for the path marketers need to be following.

When they asked marketers for the top three media most important to achieving their objectives, the response was 1) conferences and events 2) magazines 3) television. Online first shows up at number 6 and occupies positions 7 – 9.

When the question was changed to “in 12 month’s time” the change is stunning. Conferences/events remain in first place by a large margin. Television has moved up to second place! But look carefully; that’s because consumer/business magazines experienced a huge drop; trade magazines declined also. Newspapers continue to decline in perceived effectiveness. When you take that careful look, TV has declined in perceived effectiveness also—just less than their print brethren. Online content sites and search engine marketing experience huge increases in perceived important.

Think a year further on—what is this chart going to look like? More decline in traditional media? Probably. More increase in importance of online? Assuredly. If nothing else, the online media as less costly in shaky economic times. And, as we all know, online has a lot more to recommend it!

What are the marketing tools that support the shift in marketing? The WSJ lists five. I’ve changed the wording to make it more consistent with common usage and in the process reduced the number to 4:
1. From loyalty to attention. I’ve frequently pointed out that attention must be the first marketing objective in the new media world.
2. From audiences to community. Segmentation and audience targeting as we have always known it gets harder every day. The new media world demands communities whether they coalesce around brands, lifestyles, or ideas.
3. From advertising slogans (memes) to communications that people find worth sharing with others (bemes).
4. From siloed channels to integrated marketing. Channels—whether communication or ecommerce—must works together, not in the isolation of silos.

Each one of these, described in the article as Web 3.0 tools, represent a change in the way marketers think about and carry out their responsibilities. I'd stress that they aren’t tools for the future; they are requirements for marketing success today.

The CMO study has some important things to say about desirable marketing objectives in an age of globalization and consumer control. It’s also pretty clear that no one has a comprehensive model for changing the marketing organization to meet the new challenges and achieve the new objectives.

More about that tomorrow!

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