Sam Melnick published an article on MarketingProfs.com on May 12, 2017, stating that Coca-Cola has decided to eliminate the position of CMO in its organization. What does this mean for CMO’s of other brands? Here is why Coke is replacing the CMO with a Chief Growth Officer and what you can learn from this shakeup.
Reported in AdAge back in March, as Coca-Cola overhauls its marketing leadership structure under its new CEO, former Chief Marketing Officer Marcos de Quinto is leaving the company. The company is focused on consolidating marketing, customer and commercial leadership strategy into one combined function led by a chief growth officer. The new CGO, Francisco Crespo will assume the new role, moving from his current role as president of Coke’s Mexico business unit.
What Can Marketers Learn from This?
There are a lot of takeaway conclusions that can be drawn from Coca-Cola’s strategic decision to eliminate the CMO and replace the position with a Chief Growth Officer. Here are three conclusions that can be drawn from this decision and how it may impact the CMO role in general moving forward.
1. CMO’s must focus on changing the perception of their role towards the future
There is a movement among marketers to position themselves as a growth center and away from cost-centers. The fact is, marketing is becoming highly strategic and data-driven, which can help marketers tell a clear story of where resources were invested and what the return on investment was.
The opportunity for marketers is to take advantage of the data they are able to collect in order to close the visibility gap between the activity being generated and the returns they’re driving. I see brand strategy as filling in the gap between the traditional marketer and operations management.
I see brand strategy as filling in the gap between the traditional marketer and operations management. Using both marketing analytics and operations management determines how the brand is performing.
2. Marketing departments should be run with strict discipline to achieve ROI goals
The role of the CMO must continue to adapt as brands move further into data-driven models to better understand consumer behavior. From the article on MarketingProfs, Melnick states,
A strict discipline is required behind the scenes within a marketing organization – behind the campaign, the creative, and the customer-facing tactics. This discipline focuses on a clear line of sight into all marketing investments, a unified approach to marketing planning, and tight, accurate, actionable measurements.
3. The role of the CMO is becoming highly strategic and more deeply integrated across the organization
When I think back to marketing campaigns in the days of Mad Men, it’s hard to imagine how they could justify the cost based on very little data. Nowadays, that style very rarely accepted in practice. CMO’s are heavily integrated with both marketing operations and revenue operations.
CMO’s need to be more strongly aligned to the management of budgets, tracking investments, and connecting activity back to revenue by utilizing processes, data, and technology.
To accomplish this, three distinct areas must be in alignment to translate the story of performance in terms of business results to other members of the executive team.
- Go-to-Market Plan: Having a clear, go-to-market plan communicates transparency to rest of the team, signaling that a plan is in place in order to achieve goals set by the brand.
- Investment Management: One of the reasons the marketing department is sometimes considered a cost center is due to the high investment of resources, but not clear results. Investment management determines how a brand will spend their resources in order to reach the goals set forth in the go-to-market plan.
- Targets: To understand if a campaign was successful, it’s critical that targets are defined and tied back to results that can be measured over time in order to beat market expectations.
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How do you see the role of CMO evolving? Will it disappear at some point in the future? Why or why not? Leave a comment below or connect with me on social.