It’s been well documented that the role of the CMO and even the term ‘marketing’ might not encompass all that is expected of a Marketing executive in the digital age. In just one recent example of the evolution of Marketing, we see ex-Uber CMO Steve Brennen switch to Fintech disruptors Zip Co in a newly created role of CCO (Chief Customer Officer).
Brennen is one of Australia’s most recognised marketers, often appearing on the CMO50 and brings with him more than 20 years’ experience to the role. Prior to spending nearly three years with Uber he was with eBay, PayPal and Virgin.
But is this still down to preference or are we now starting to truly believe the role of the CMO needs to transcend more than its title suggests. After all, every touch point of the customer experience is your brand and therefore surely the custodian of each touch point needs to be a customer officer?
Traditionally, marketing has been focused on crafting the brand story, then managing the external-facing campaigns, such as adverts and commercials to get the message out. But digital has somewhat changed the game. It’s broadened the role beyond brand and mar-comms and with it brought some confusion as emerging areas such as Data, Digital and Customer Experience become integral to a company’s winning strategy and questions are raised on who owns what and why?
Historically the role of Marketing hasn’t necessarily been to unite the operating areas to deliver that brand promise. However, the opportunity for stickiness and retention looms and those questions are now being asked. Therefore, if the CMO in your organisation wants to evolve and expand their role beyond defining the brand, but also guiding the company’s ability to live the brand, then the CMO will have to build greater skills beyond the marketing skillset established to date. This is a great learning opportunity and growth challenge for the CMO that could lead to greater retention at this level.
It could be the difference between your awesome CMO staying or leaving for a seemingly much broader remit elsewhere.
I believe it’s still largely driven by the context and what is fit for purpose. Size of business and preference on narrow versus broader remits (e.g. strategic preference from the CEO) can still determine what is right for an organisation, to be put frankly don't fix what isn't broken. Perhaps in Zip Co’s case they it needed evolution and that Brennan could play a more strategic role in bridging the gap between all customer touch points. Perhaps for Brennan it was indeed that broader remit and business who were thinking more strategically about their customer that appealed.
Whichever way you end up choosing to go, start with the current gaps between brand promise and customer experience and decide if you really do need someone to own all elements or if your current operating model exists better by delineating responsibility. The options are there for you but the key element to success is to ensure the person understands exactly what is expected and role clarity is obtained, title will follow based on this alignment.