HBR: CMOs and CEOs Can Work Better Together

InsightaaS: For the past several years, Gartner and others have been predicting that CMOs will have an increasingly-influential role in directing IT strategies and investments - which has increased IT management interest in understanding and working with marketing departments. We will take a closer look at the CIO/CMO dynamic in Across the Net next week, but first, we wanted to approach the issue from the 'other direction,' with a look at the CEO/CMO dynamic. In this Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, authors Jean-Baptiste Coumau, Tom French and Laura LaBerge - all of McKinsey - use several case examples to illustrate the importance that CEOs can and should place on marketing. They recommend that the CMO get "a seat at the executive table," that the CMO be positioned as "the 'bonding agent' that connects the organization," that the organization "develop - and stick to - a marketing blueprint," and further urge that the CEO take an active personal role in marketing - all of which would serve to enhance the position of marketing within the enterprise, and make marketing's system requirements a high priority for IT delivery resources. Interestingly, though, while the article references many areas where IT is typically applied - including multi-channel management addressing the touchpoints where customers interact with suppliers, product lifecycle management, enterprise resource planning, and analytics - the word "technology" does not appear in the post.

The challenges laid out for marketing in this piece are substantial; it is likely that marketers will struggle to stay abreast of them, and will require a great deal of help, particularly with IT-enabled innovation. We believe that it's important for IT leaders to understand the directions outlined here, and their implications for IT - and then to build the kinds of relationships with marketing that are needed to ensure that the CIO has his/her own 'seat at the table' when structure and strategy turms to systems and execution.

When Deborah DiSanzo took over as CEO of Philips Healthcare in May 2012, she knew that engineering would continue to drive innovation. But she also realized that the company needed to develop greater marketing muscle to drive a commercial transformation.  As she put it, "Our markets are going through dynamic change. Who should lead our transformation? It must be marketing. Marketers need to know where their markets are going and where their customers are going, and then lead the rest of the organization."

DiSanzo started by consolidating an astounding 600 different marketing titles into eight consistent job areas with specific and clear areas of responsibility. She also took the unusual step of installing three CMOs who could help provide detailed insights into three of the main business groups of the company. And she put marketing in charge of an organization-wide growth program.

The changes in healthcare — consolidation, restructuring, regulation, spending pressures — that are necessitating a transformation at Philips Healthcare are a subset of a series of powerful forces in the business world that have catapulted marketing from an often-isolated support function to a critical capability for driving above-average growth. Marketing has become increasingly essential for discovering meaningful insights, designing strategies and offers based on them, and delivering them to the marketplace. We have seen these forces at work in many different industries around the world, requiring a decidedly closer working relationship between the CEO and CMO.

The CMOs will need to be much more attuned to the business objectives and strategies of the company in general and the CEO in particular, while the CEO must become more immersed in the customer perspective.  In our experience, there are specific steps CEOs and CMOs can take to develop a working relationship that is dynamic and useful...

Read the entire post: blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/cmos-and-ceos-can-work-better-together/

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