The CMO: Mind the Gap

May 29, 2013
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healthcare marketing CMO“The CMO is dead,” writes Dominique Turpin, the head of IMD, a Swiss business school. Really?

healthcare marketing CMO“The CMO is dead,” writes Dominique Turpin, the head of IMD, a Swiss business school. Really?

A recent Economist article challenges this notion by analyzing the impact digital tools have in providing hard metrics/analytics to take the “Voodoo” out of the equation by allowing marketers to KNOW what works.

At the recent Digital Marketing for Medical Devices event I asked the audience: “Who wants to be a CMO?” Surprisingly, not one hand in the audience went up. This in an audience of 120+ life sciences marketers – not one aspired to the top spot. Whatever happened to aspiration?

While on stage, I had an exchange with Bill Drummy, CEO of Heartbeat Ideas. I was exploring with the audience why they are reluctant/loathe/late to apply analytic measurements to their application development/deployment strategies. Bill made the case that EVERY marketing team should include a data scientist/analytics expert. His point being: in the digital world everything is measurable; what you can measure you can manage; what you manage you can control (influence) the outcome.

Which gives rise to an emerging role in corporations, the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). This article makes a strong case for the role and details what is required:

“CMOs that have backgrounds in management consulting (strategy, transformation) as well as hands-on ‘digital’ experience with social media, mobile, analytics, and ecommerce can make excellent candidates for CDO roles. Having solid knowledge of ‘technology marketing’ won’t do it because what’s required in most cases is transforming how the firm/brand understands and relates to stakeholders (‘customer-clients’) and delivering personal, individualized experiences to customer-clients. This is a gut rehab, and neither the CIO nor the CMO is well suited to do it.”

This is a strong indictment of marketing (and IT) and could be a result of what The Economist concludes: “… a gap yawns between what CMOs could do and what they actually do.”

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The London Underground’s announcement couldn’t be more prophetic: “Mind the gap!”

(Healthcare marketing / shutterstock)