Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Tale of Two CMOs: The Final Chapter

Over the last several weeks, I've been been pecking away at a series titled, A Tale of Two CMOs: A Study in Contrasts. The focus of the series has been to highlight the differences between two fictional chief marketing officers -- one old school and the other more "new school" for a lack of a better description. Over the course of the series, I took the two CMOs through the traditional marketing funnel (Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action) to see what role if any social media played in their efforts.

Being a marketer myself and possessing the ability to be easily distracted, I chose to mix things up a little by announcing that the old school CMO, James,  had been asked to step down as CMO at the end of the year. I did this at the expense of focusing on the "desire" portion of the funnel, mainly because I felt like the series was losing a little bit of steam. To that end, I'm going to wrap things up this week with a summary of what I think the key take aways were from the three interviews AND will attempt to answer a few of the questions that came up in the comments that our two CMOs didn't address during the series.

Key Takeaways:
  • Old school and new school marketers for large companies aren't as different as you might think, especially when it comes to generating awareness. The new school CMO may be more digitally focused but at the end of the day, both are still relying heavily on advertising at the top end of the funnel.
  • Not understanding the power that social can have on SEO and SEM is a fatal flaw. From a purely tactical standpoint, social may have the biggest impact on paid keyword search campaigns/optimization.
  • As marketers progress down the marketing funnel, social can and should play an increasingly important role. At its finest, social is really about turning retention into acquisition. We didn't dig into this too deeply in this series but I touched on it in the last post by referring to my colleague, Joe Jaffe's new book, Flip the Funnel.
  • Old school CMOs may be safe for the time being but over the next 3-5 years, we will see an increasing push to install senior marketers that fundamentally understand the convergence of social media, digital marketing and a renewed focus on customer service.
Final answers to some of the questions from the comments:
  • Consistency in brand/message being a given, what are some of the things (tangible and intangible) that must be considered throughout cross-channel marketing - web site, mobile, social, email, print/DM, TV, etc.? And which companies do/don't the 'best' job with this, why/why no? (via Mike Cogburn). Mike, I think their are two keys here 1) to understand the essence of what your brand is i.e. what do you stand for. Any senior marketer worth their salt should know the answer to that question. Assuming that's the case, then 2) one must think about right-fitting the brand essence into the right channel. This may seem easy but most brands botch this miserably by trying to cram the same message and visuals through every channel with slight copy editing. For instance, most ad campaigns DON'T belong on Facebook or Twitter, at least not as they are currently constituted. As far as companies that are doing this well, I'd look at brands like Target, Pepsi and maybe Clorox. They seem to be doing a nice job representing in the offline, online and social worlds.
  • My question for our two CMOs: What roles do quantitative and qualitative (ethnography, interviews, etc.) research play in understanding their customers? And in what ratios do they employ them? (via Chris Bailey). Both CMO's are BIG advocates of quantitative and qualitative research. For James, it's mostly around his advertising efforts. For Tessa, it's a mix between advertising, digital strategy, product marketing research and now social media. Tessa (the new schooler) is a big believer in looking internal and finds that some of her best insight comes from her sales and customers service teams. Too few companies do this.
  • Old school, middle school, new school, if marketing tactics can't be tied to sales metrics, I'm afraid it is destined to be a fairly meaningless conversation. (via Dwight Galler). Good point. We didn't talk enough about metrics -- we absolutely would have if I had continued down the path of "desire" and "action." Unfortunately, it's still VERY difficult to tie "awareness" and "interest" to hard metrics although SEM effectiveness is obviously a good indicator for that latter. Either way, I'd love to do a blog interview with you shortly that talks about getting into the mind of a B2B marketer.
Well, that about does it. Hope everyone enjoyed the series. Any feedback on how I could have improved things is welcome.

Funnel image courtesy The Niche Report


  1. This was a great series. I learned some things and confirmed others. The format made it quite interesting, too. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Thanks Elmer. My pleasure. Your input certainly helped make it more engaging.