Another example of the super-CMO model is Dave Burwick, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Pepsi-Cola North America. He has responsibility for brands and media, innovation of products and packaging, marketing initiatives (consumer promotions, sports marketing, Internet messaging), and market research. Overall profit-and-loss accountability rests with the Pepsi president, to whom Mr. Burwick reports. Mr. Burwick is accountable for top-line growth and the effectiveness of his marketing budget. He also has shared responsibility with his peers for company profitability.
A super-CMO must be:
Smart, confident, and able to debate head-to-head with line managers
Able to attract and retain top marketing talent, including line managers and senior staff
Excellent at both left-brain (analytical) and right-brain (creative) marketing
A change agent with strong convictions and staying power
Well respected and trusted by the CEO and peers
An Evolving Role
Although the CMO role is currently in vogue, many firms create this position without clearly defining the need for it or giving enough thought to the problems the CMO is meant to solve. Our research, supported by that of others, suggests this is a recipe for failure.
In the complex modern corporation, the CMO role is relatively new and needs more time to develop. The success of CMOs at such leading companies as IBM, Pepsi, UPS, and P&G helps the cause by providing templates for how the role can be integrated into existing organizational structures. Our research shows there are different types of CMOs, with different roles, responsibilities, required skills, and organizational status, appropriate for corporations with different organizational and marketing challenges. Understanding these differences and the needs for your organization is a central ingredient in shaping the role of the CMO.
Every company needs to assess the marketing tasks that must be performed in order to ensure competitive success, and the alternative organizational approaches necessary to get them done. CEOs must be especially sensitive to organizational structure and personality fit within the company before selecting a CMO, especially when considering candidates from outside the firm. (See “Eight Ways to Improve CMO Success,” page 49.)
Eight Ways to Improve CMO Success
1. Make the mission and responsibilities clear. Be certain that the case for having a CMO is strong and the mission is well understood by leaders in the organization, particularly the CEO, the board, and line management. Without a clear need (real or perceived), the role will be rejected by the organization.
2. Fit the role to the marketing culture and structure. Avoid having a CMO in a marketing-led company that has many individual brands rather than a single corporate umbrella — unless the person appointed to the position is a well-connected insider.
3. Choose a CMO who is compatible with the CEO. Beware of the CEO who wants to hire a CMO but doesn’t want to relinquish any marketing control. Find a CEO who recognizes his or her responsibility to be the cheerleader for marketing and the brand, but realizes the need to be guided and coached by a marketing specialist.
4. Remember that showpeople don’t succeed. The CMO should work hard to ensure the CEO is successful at being the principal cheerleader for the brand.
5. Match the personality with the CMO type. Be certain that the chief marketer has the right skills and personality for whichever of the three CMO models he or she might fill. There is little tolerance for on-the-job training.
6. Make line managers marketing heroes. By stretching their marketing budgets, CMOs can improve a division’s marketing productivity and help business unit leaders increase their top-line revenues.
7. Infiltrate the line organization. Have the CMO support the placement of marketing professionals from the corporate marketing department into divisional marketing roles. Provide input from the CMO into the annual reviews of line marketers.
8. Require right-brain and left-brain skills. The most successful CMO will have strong creative and technical marketing expertise, be politically savvy, and have the interpersonal skills to be a great leader and manager.