Another Great Recession: The Vanishing CMO

CMO VP Marketing Downturn

Yesterday I read a LinkedIn update that suggested that another economic recession may be looming. While never a fan of ominous speculation, like all professionals impacted by the market downturn of 2008, the discussions always do capture my attention quickly. The update suggested that the yield curve of interest rates on U.S. government debt is flattening, which some believe is the signal of another impending economic downturn.

Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.  Meanwhile in the workplace one group of executives continue to battle an already existing downturn of their own. 

I speak of the disappearing marketing executive, aka, the vanishing CMO.

In 2016 the Wall Street Journal reported that the average tenure of CMO’s was 26.5 months. That’s quite a tiny figure for a median average.  In 2017 a Gardner study indicated that CEO’s were letting go up to 30% of their CMO’s/VP of Marketing.  Even football coaches in the NFL, a trade well known for perfectly impatient owners who dictate their coaches ultra-short tenures, seem to have a much longer leash than Chief Marketing Officers.  And this is coming from the league where coaches, players, and fans alike joke that the NFL stands for “Not For Long.”

It’s likely you’ve seen the trend in some form within your own network.  And fair or not, it remains a sadly fascinating experience. But what exactly drives the phenomenon?

It seems that much of the pressure stems from expectations around growth, revenue, and sales, to name a few. In 2018, the CMO is tied to performance expectations like never before. Add into the equation rapidly evolving digital spaces, with affixed expectation around company wins proven only through the mining of data, and you can then begin to understand the weight marketing executives presently expect to carry on their shoulders.

Other challenges come in the form of the CIO or CCO throwing their hat in to the ring and believing that they have a better overall understanding producing campaigns and creative work which better connect with target audiences.  In these scenarios, the CMO may face an uphill battle proving themselves when pitted against the clever computer whiz (CIO) or popular new kid (CCO) personas inside the C-suite.

In addition, the buyers journey, in nearly all cases, continues to evolve drastically as well. Producing compelling content to meet demands is difficult enough, but understanding each distribution channel with their respective rules and characteristics can be a struggle.  And that's before considering what percentage of marketing budget to allocate towards each one.

It's no wonder why I continue to meet more and more marketing ‘experts’ who now lead their elevator pitch by stating they are storytellers.  In my book it's similar to a Marine showing up for boot camp stating they are the very best at tying knots, and then expecting deep and immediate respect from a commanding officer.  For any real continued success or relevance as a true marketing leader they will need to embrace the full set of expectations, even if they are incredibly lofty.  

The good news in all of this, expectations aside, is that the business world still demands well-rounded marketing superheroes.  If you’re a balanced, evolving marketing savant, with an eye for creative detail, a simultaneous knack for analytics, mixed with a deep understanding of how dozens of independent target audiences are behaving and evolving, sprinkled with the ability to create a perfect strategy and steady stream of memorable content, then you’re future is bright! 

Marketing Promotion Superhero

And with all that extra free time, don't forget to take the trash out at some point.

Just when the thought of another rumored recession was a primary concern.

About Revmarka

Revmarka is reliable outsourced marketing for your business.  Founded by marketing leader, Eric Dahl, Revmarka benefits partners with best-in-class marketing strategy and execution, while significantly saving them on typical marketing department costs.  At Revmarka, our hyper-focused approach towards promoting your value proposition allows us to maximize ours.  This core mindset drives our collaborative success story.