According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 152 CMOs 'left' their jobs this past September - which set an all-time record. And now a new study sponsored by the MarketBridge consultancy for the CMO council has found that the majority of the searches last year for CMO's were done to replace currently CMOs as opposed to filling new slots.
It's no secret that the CMO has been on the hot seat in recent years. What's interesting from the MarketBridge study, however, are the reasons why. Essentially, the study finds that there is a strong dichotomy in CEO's minds as to the skills that make a good CMO and the measures by which a CMO's performance should be judged. Essentially, CEOs want their CMOs to be heavy on qualities such as "boardroom stature" and "polished, articulate communicator" but they want to judge them on ROI and "market share gains."
As reported in an article by Gregory Solman in the April 16th Adweek, "So how do CMO's gain cred? Not by touting taglines but by crunching numbers, becoming "quant jocks" in the model established by CMOs at CapitalOne and Dell, then proving to their boards that their marketing is working, said TIm Furey, CEO of MarketBridge, Bethesda, Md."
So which is it? Do we want our CMOs to be creative, visionary, articulate communicators? Or should they be "quant jocks?" Because I'm thinking that the people that can effectively do both are few and far between.
I wonder if the answer is to split the modern CMO into two roles - much like separating the role of CEO and Chairman. Many companies have realized that the roled of Chairman and CEO might not always require the same skill sets. The opertaional expertise needed to run a complex operation on a day-to-day basis is very different from the out-of-the-weeds strategic thinking and skill in working with analysts and investors that is required from the Chairman. Feels like the same situation with the CMO.
Perhaps the person who can best understand the changing needs and wants of the marketplace and can lead his/her organization creatively down new paths of meeting those needs and wants creatively and persuasively is not the same person who can be the marketing ROI "quant jock." Perhaps the CMO would be more successful if he/she were actually two people: the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Measurement Officer. This way they could BOTH be CMOs!!!!
And by a bit of crazy math, maybe by doubling the number of CMOs in a company we might find that the rate at which they are fired turns out to be less than half.