Archives for posts with tag: cmo

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How many times did we hear outcry about tenure of CMOs? It’s somewhere between 12 and 24 months. In short: pathetically short. There are groups on various social networks where CMOs talk with each other and share information. I joined a few of them and was saddened by the content: a lot of echo chamber jargon, opinions and little substance. Anyone existing outside the marketing community wouldn’t understand a word.

There’s a lot of junk and cheap talk, nothing relating brand status to financial consequences. Anybody involved in the marketing and advertising world is responsible to nail down some factual benchmarks that smart business people understand. Many of the reports marketers produce are just fluff and hot air (Unaided brand awareness, anyone? Facebook likes. Do I have to continue? Thanks.) At my first agency job, we commissioned a client satisfaction survey each quarter. It gave us information agency staff couldn’t get internally. We used it as a way of giving the agency goals and every six months executives presented the results. It removed all opinion by giving us measures we needed to address. We tried to manage the agency brand through the eyes of our clients. The outcomes were fabulous when it came to retention, organic growth and new business.

The curse of marketing is jargon combined with unquantified opinion

That’s the real cause so many people in marketing and advertising believe to be visionaries and almost nobody is. When they lead the way, they might lead us to nowhere. Or Second Life. Let’s face it: most of us are challenged in the vision department. However, we all talk like Steve Jobs and Seth Godin. They communicated substance, most of us hot air.

Now, there are some real visionaries in this business. People that know the past, understand the present and learned from both to look at the future. The problem for agencies and clients is to work out who is the person with the jargon and glossary, and who is the one that is thinking and talking intelligently.

Any new client needs to agree on a form of measurement to track performance. Most brands still  don’t want to invest in the most elementary tracking. They rather focus on listening and defensive tactics, rather than understanding the real perception of their business and brand. Some brands spend millions of dollars on media but they don’t bother to spend 0.5% of their marketing budget on tracking important KPIs. “Let’s do that next year.”

CEOs should be brand managers

CEOs should ask for this data on a monthly basis. In terms of brand management at the top of any organization, the CEO cannot rely upon the input internally as it has a vested interest in all things  being pink unicorns. CEOs need some form of external intelligence communicating honestly how his brand is doing in the real world. Good intelligence gives the CEO the time to adjust the business. When he has to fire the CMO to correct strategy, it’s too late. The horse has already left the barn.

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Under the title “More gain, less strain: Optimizing marketing partner performance and value in a digital world”, the CMO Council published an analysis of how marketers are optimizing marketing partner performance and value in a digital world.

It’s not a pretty picture

  • Just 9% of marketers believe traditional ad agencies are doing a good job of evolving and extending their service capabilities.
  • 58% of marketers are unsatisfied with the current process of measuring their agencies’ advertising effectiveness.
  • 55% of senior marketers do not systematically evaluate creative impact, and 58% are unsatisfied with the evaluation process associated with benchmarking their agencies’ creative advertising effectiveness.
  • Only 36% of marketers are committed to their agency relationships, with 49% saying that they may consolidate or change their global agency rosters.
  • 32% are looking at selective replacement in their agency rosters, 9% see increased turnover of resource, and another 9% are decreasing the use of agencies.

A small bright spot in a dark environment

Marketers are continuing their search for new insights: 48% consider the most important value and gain from outside agencies fresh ideas, analytics and perspectives. 39% are looking for new methodologies and creative approaches.

When reviewing and evaluating agency relationships, the majority of multi-national marketers look at strategic contributions (57%) and business value created (56%).

The frustration is palatable

The survey respondents also ranked the top five causes of pain and friction in their agency relationships: (in order)

  • Lack of an agreed-upon set of analytics and metrics that defines success and failure
  • Limited knowledge and comprehension of the client’s business
  • Lack of value-added strategic thinking
  • Pricing and budgeting issues
  • Integration of marketing plans and services

Do marketers get what they pay for?

As we all know, marketing expenditures are under incredible pressure from CMO’s and procurement.  While marketers complain about lack of knowledge and comprehension of their business, they don’t seem willing to pay agencies to acquire this knowledge.

A lack of knowledge and comprehension will lead to lack of value-added strategic thinking. The agency might be able to give out some creative candy, but no filling, strategic meals.

Being so unprepared to market a client’s business, the chance of success is diminishing and there’s no benefit in succinctly defining failure and success.

Ultimately, resulting in pricing and budgeting issues.

It takes two to tango

Marketers have to understand that agencies are not lazy or disinterested in learning about the client’s business. Structurally, the client-agency relationship is not set-up for such a learning experience.

On the other hand, agencies need to set parameters for success and failure at the pitch. The pitch meeting should be the occasion where both parties set expectations, discuss challenges and solutions. It should be less about fireworks, grandiose creative and big promises. More about business decisions, culture check and partnership processes.

The current pitch meeting with all its confetti is best suited for a fling. As any married couple with a few decades under their belt will tell us, confetti gets annoying after a while. Long-term relationships are built on trust, transparency and authenticity.  No confetti needed.

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The Ford Pinto was a crappy car. No doubt about it.

The Pinto was introduced in 1970 and sold over 100,000 units by January 1971.

Why?

The power of mass media

40 years ago you could take any product and sell it to people. You had to throw a lot of media money at it and somehow people would buy it. The commercial said it looked good, so it must look good. The print ad said it’s cool, so it must be cool. The radio spot said it’s breaking barriers, so it must be breaking barriers.

There was no Edmunds, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Google.

The Ford Pinto wouldn’t sell 100,000 units today

You can’t throw marketing dollars at a product problem anymore. It just doesn’t work.

40 years ago, the lipstick-on-a-pig routine worked.

Today, even major cosmetic surgery doesn’t do the job anymore.

You can scream “Beauty” all day long, it makes no difference as long as Google says “Pig”.

Marketing needs to be responsible for what gets made.

Many people wonder why brands switch agencies so quickly these days. Why CMO’s leave after less than 2 years.

It’s the product, stupid.

Marketing is powerful. But it’s not powerful enough to hide the truth about a product.

CMO’s and agencies will regain leverage when they finally realize that effective marketing is the by-product of a great product.

One day, an agency will stand up to the product team and say: “We can’t sell this effectively. Don’t throw your media money at a terrible product. Everybody will lose. Instead, put your money into product innovation. Effective marketing will follow.”

That’s my agency of the future.