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Are You a CMO 2.0?

October 5, 2012 1 comment

Over the past few years, I’ve connected with  dozens of CMOs via peer groups, such as The CMO CouncilThe CMO Club and Forrester’s CMO Group, and everyone I talk to is striving to become more “2.0.”   So what does it really mean to be CMO 2.0?

Conventional wisdom says that you have to embrace the mega trends, including big data, cloud, mobile, and social.  You need to immerse yourself into the new ways of pervasive computing and continuous communications that Generation C – or the connected generation – view as a way of life.  You need to be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.   You need to meld traditional competencies in communications and creative ideation with quantitative analysis and insight-producing analytics. But, while all this is true, it overlooks the change in operational approach and style that is equally important for a CMO 2.0.

Just because a CMO is in the “C-Suite” doesn’t mean he or she will be more successful at influencing peers than VPs of Marketing who are not part of the most senior executive group.   Success requires a commitment to building and maintaining strong ties to other C-Suite members, so you can count on their support for strategic initiatives.   As John Ellett, CEO of nFusion and Forbes blogger, said in a recent blog: “I found that effective marketing change agents take time early in their tenure to forge strong relationships with their C-suite peers. They don’t wait until they unveil their strategy and hope to build alliances at that time; they seek out their peers and develop the trust needed before it’s time to align on a plan for change.”  Leading change is a key success factor for CMOs, so this advice is critical to maximize the probability of success of any key initiative.

Another key dimension of being a CMO 2.0 is the ability to not only learn about and embrace mega trends, but also to determine how these trends are affecting your business, and how to use them as a catalyst to drive growth and revenue. Best-selling author and technology guru Geoffrey Moore definitely gets CMO 2.0.  In his talks about the future of IT, he articulates how systems of engagement are replacing systems of record, so that we are moving from an era of: command and control to collaboration; from transaction-oriented to interaction-oriented; from data-centric to user-experience centric; and from user learns system to system learns user.

To be CMO 2.0, you have to not only drive marketing, but also drive change in the systems the company uses to connect with and engage customers, and continually revise the policies and processes that govern all customer interactions, whether or not you have authority over these functions (e.g. sales, service, support) that touch customers.

Many observers have said that the CMO 2.0 is ideally suited to take on additional responsibility and have an increased impact on organizational success.  But this won’t happen by simply synthesizing the mega trends – it requires a deeper insight into what to do about them and the formulation of a transformative plan to drive organizational change.  In his recent book “Everywhere”, Larry Weber, Chairman of W2 Group and Pega board member, explains that you can’t just say your company is going to embrace social media, you actually have to change the company at the core:  “To develop a social enterprise, management has to be intentional about creating a culture that values openness, transparency, collaboration and innovation. Although many social forces are making this directional move inevitable, it often goes against the grain of how companies have traditionally been run.”  To be CMO 2.0, you therefore have to be just as involved in culture building and culture change as the head of HR and the CEO are.

So it’s clear that while embracing Web 2.0 technologies and understanding mega trends and their implications is important, it’s what you can do about this unrelenting wave of change to reshape your company and its operational parameters that will ultimately determine whether you are truly a CMO 2.0.

Building High Performance Marketing Teams

August 29, 2009 1 comment

When joining a new company, it’s critical to quickly assess the team you’ve inherited to determine what level oforganization restructuring and rebuilding will be required to ensure functional success.  Before rushing to judgment and a rapid makeover, take time to understand – on a personal level – the structure, composition, talent, strengths and weakness of the team.  Besides the obvious gaps in competencies, under-performers and open positions, often there are more subtle clues to the most pressing organizational shortcomings as well as staff member potential.

Misplaced.   In every situation I’ve encountered, there is always at least one person who is not in a well suited role.  They often got there because they filled a vacuum left open for one reason or another, not because they had the requisite skills, desire or experience to succeed in the role.  When asked to define success in the position, the misplaced person often says “getting stuff done,” versus doing the right things, doing them in the right order and in the right way.

Misdiagnosed.  Over time, as organizations grow and evolve, it’s quite possible the talent gets buried.  It’s not necessarily by design; however, since people are often viewed primarily through the lense upon which they were first hired or moved into an organization, it’s more difficult to determine that a rising star is obscured by someone whom they report to or some other circumstance.  That’s why I embrace skip-level meetings with inherited staff to find out whether top talent is just waiting to be tapped for a truly challenging assignment.

Key Marketing Behaviors.  There are five or so key behaviors that all team members should be demonstrating in order to facilitate a high performing team and ensure ongoing improvement to operational efficiency and staff output:

Communication:  clearly conveying information and ideas in a manner that engages the audience or team member and helps them understand the message.   Demonstrated by how well one organizes the communication, maintains audience attention, listens to and adjusts to the audience and ensures understanding. 

Innovation/Initiative:   generating innovative solutions in work situations; trying different and novel ways to deal with work problems and opportunities. Demonstrated by doing more, finding new and better ways to accomplish ongoing tasks and continuously improve output and measurable results.

Customer focus:  making customers and their needs a primary focus of one’s efforts and actions is critical to successful marketing organizations (and companies for that matter). Thinking and obsessing about, contacting and connecting with, and “blueprinting” the value you deliver, the problems you solve, the difference you make is essential to efficiently capturing, nurturing, and growing your customer base.

Teamwork:   genuinely helping others, developing collaborative relationships, and proactively problem-solving to accomplish work goals.  I’ve found that in this area, intervention is often required to foster and maintain teamwork even when everyone says they work well with others.

Leadership:  influencing people, events and actions by properly perceiving and acting upon situations and variables.   The last one is, in many organizations, the key behavior.  The phrase “lead, follow or get out the way” should apply to all team members, not just the few at the top.  I argue that there are not enough leaders and risk takers at middle levels, so encourage others to take initiative and lead something, even a short team initiative, and sit in the passenger seat for a change and see how they drive.  You may be surprised enough to let them go much farther in the future.  Happy winning team building!