The New Pressures Facing CCOs

Keith Ferrazzi is the CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a research-based consulting and training company, and the author of Who’s Got Your Back (Broadway Books, 2009).

A new study out by Spencer Stuart shows an insane number of chief marketing officers who’ve been fired during 2018. But frankly, it’s not a surprise. I served as CCO for Deloitte Consulting and then Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and when I have coached executive teams through transformations, I’ve seen many teams at an impasse with their CCO.

There are lessons we can learn by exploring why so many CCOs get fired—and they can be useful to any executive working to navigate the radically interdependent world of business today.

Although the role of a CCO has been evolving and expanding, people on executive teams still seem to think the CCO must have expertise in every element of her role. In most cases that is a prescription for failure.

Success comes, rather, by embracing a role as the facilitator of growth for the business and the four most important levers of that growth:

1. Brand

This is the traditional role of the CCO: the architect of the brand strategy and the one who establishes the brand’s position within the marketplace and relative to the competition. The CCO is the curator of the creative. She lays out the road map: where the brand has been, where it is going, and how it is going to move in that direction.

2. Product marketing

For this, the CCO pulls all of the analysis and insights from all of the customer-facing resources of the organization to support and co-design specific solutions with the product organization.

3. Data and analytics

This has been a fast-emerging competency, and one which is sometimes antithetical to the traditional role of the creative CCO. This role is more rigorous, more focused on numbers, and more focused on data sources—many of which didn’t even exist a few years ago.

4. Sales support

This has sometimes not been the purview of the CCO at all, but has been taken up and led by the sales team alone. This area is measured by the generation of leads and the support of the field marketing organization, which in turn directly supports and enables the sales organization. In many cases, the incapacity to successfully support the sales operations has been the downfall of a CCO. That is because of the simple truth that revenue and sales always win. In some instances, the sales organization ignores marketing altogether and takes over, leaving only the corporate brand to the marketer.

Source Harvard Business Review

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