October 09, 2019

Misconceptions About CMO Duties And How A Fractional CMO Can Help Maximize Results

Kamyar Shah

Kamyar Shah
Fractional COO/World Consulting Group

Share This Post

Laying The Foundation For Your New CMO 

So you have decided to hire an interim or part-time CMO. What are the next steps for your business and how will your new interim CMO fit in the picture? It is important to understand how an interim CMO can help your business and marketing. Having a clear definition of your CMO’s role and duties are also essential. With marketing tactics and business needs changing, the role of the CMO has evolved.

The Move Away From Traditional Marketing And The Need For Expertise 

In the past, CMOs were in charge of traditional marketing and advertising. With the global consumer base now becoming more complex, successful CMOs must embrace change and broaden their scope. Successful CMOs are aware of the latest trends, methods, and technologies. This requires a strong digital marketing skill-set for upgraded marketing goals.

Why Engagement and Storytelling Is Vital For Your Marketing’s Success And How A CMO Can Fill The Gaps

With the growing use of digital resources, customers are moving toward an interactive experience. They are now engaging with brand stories that appeal to their emotions. This is why CMOs now have to focus on emotional rather than rational engagement. In the past, communications required little customer feedback. and Brands served their story without the customer in mind. With the Internet, marketing must now cut through the noise. making engagement more important now than in the past. People need to feel important and traditional marketing methods ignored their audience. 

How A CMO Leverages Consumer Action Over Words

"As a marketer, you have to be driven by the consumer that you are serving, and you can only do that when you are curious about them. You can’t change the world if you are not curious about it.” Target CMO, Jeff Jones. A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer recognizes that consumers are now more vocal. Customers also desire to be a point of reference for family friends. This demanding context leaves little room for error in developing a marketing strategy.

What You Might Be Missing In Your Competition and Business Evaluations and How Your CMO Can Help

Part time Chief Marketing Officers understand that putting your company in a leading position requires an educated survey of the competition. Your Fractional CMO must have top analytical research skills to test your company and the competition. Besides having a solid understanding of your competition, a business strategy concentrating on these four areas can fill any gaps in your existing strategy:

  • The reasons behind successful as well as unsuccessful firms
  • Prime customer motivators
  • Major component costs
  • Industry mobility barriers

Why A Fractional CMO Is A Necessity And Not A Luxury In Organizations Lacking Marketing Leadership

Some organizations can often overlook the need for a CMO, and do not consider the option of hiring a Remote Chief Marketing Officer. Budgets may be under certain constraints and focused on building sales teams, product development and other areas of the business. Marketing can support your sales team in a way other functions cannot. 

According to Artful Thinkers, here are ten scenarios in which you need to outsource a fractional CMO:

  1. You have a strong tactical marketing team; however, you do not have a marketing person sitting at the table where company decisions are made about the vision, mission, strategy, tactics and growth plans for the next 3-5 years.
  2. You lack a marketing strategy or plan.
  3. You need a sustainable marketing engine that can deliver predictable results.
  4. You spend money on marketing, though you see little ROI or do not have the capabilities to track budgets, measure performance or forecast results.
  5. You need better competitive analysis and market research to know if you are talking to the right people and delivering the right products and services.
  6. You need a comprehensive assessment of marketing tactics, team members and capabilities to ensure you are built for long-term success.
  7. You know digital transformation can improve your business, yet you lack the expertise that can represent marketing’s role in that process.
  8. You want to implement advanced tactics or implement marketing technologies to help the organization best utilize their data and assets to improve the customer experience.
  9. You need an expert that can help you improve brand loyalty, reduce churn and supports the business development team to achieve their growth targets.
  10. You are dissatisfied with the results of the marketing and the impact on revenue and know that you are missing out on existing market opportunities.

Why Hiring A CMO Offers You Flexibility And Cost Savings Versus Being An Expense

Today’s marketing functions are growing to become more complex with businesses operating at the speed of the internet with change being the norm. Senior marketing leaders must compete and bring together the talent necessary to complete tasks and deliver.

Outsourcing an Interim CMO is a great alternative when you do not have the resources in house to fill a CMO role. This option provides you with flexibility and long term cost savings of potential marketing waste. 

How A CMO Leads Your Team And Fosters Their Development

A Remote Chief Marketing Officer fills in any leadership gaps for your organization. The leadership function of your Interim CMO is essential, especially in lean organizations where C-level executives may not have the time to foster the growth and development of their marketing department. 

The current state of digital marketing departments requires teams to be agile and flexible with the constant state of change in marketing technology, methods and how its used to achieve marketing objectives for businesses. Re-skilling and furthering the knowledge of your marketing team will be an ongoing evolution of their careers as well as the growth of your department. 

Your Fractional CMO can identify any weak spots before you do as well as combine the strengths of your team to enhance the productivity and skill of your department. It is important to be aware that your marketing department is only as good as its weakest link. With the help of a Part Time CMO, issues can be assessed before they become a costly problem down the line. 

Misconceptions About The Leadership Function Of Your Part Time CMO

According to leadership strategy writer, Rajeev Peshawaria, there are a few common misconceptions about leadership as a function. The first misconception is that most think leadership is about influencing others to achieve a goal. However, if we observe world leaders, most did not do anything to others. They set very clear goals and motivated themselves to get things done. In doing so, they set an example to become a powerful role model. Being an example can inspire a team to join the leader’s journey. 

The second misconception about leadership is that we assume that the person with the most formal power in a group is the leader. Because the aforementioned misconception centers leadership around influencing others to achieve, this leads to the assumption that to have influenced one must be in a position of power. Leadership has little to do with formal authority. As formal authority will sit with a board or executives in the startup culture for example. Oftentimes, authoritative figures are also far removed from the day to day of the marketing department. Those with authoritative power may provide high-level initiatives however the core functions of the marketing department are set by your CMO. 

A third misconception is that followership is leadership. For example, in the corporate world sometimes employee engagement surveys result in promotion. This sets a standard for managers to engage in people-pleasing so that surveys highlight positive results. Effective leadership does not involve pleasing the team at all times. A skilled Interim CMO will help you make tough decisions for your business but might be unpopular among your marketing staff. Pleasing, in itself, is a behavior linked to following. 

Is My CMO Only Responsible For Marketing?

Another myth about Fractional Chief Marketing Officers is that their sole focus is on marketing. Fractional CMOs are now bringing more to the table outside of the knowledge area of marketing. As businesses evolve, existing marketing can often lead to more questions than answers. This creates gaps that require additional steps. For example, competitive or data analysis may result in a negative conclusion. Common marketing problems are low traffic, little to no brand awareness and so on, however, these may be symptoms of other business problems. A skilled Interim CMO may have to work backward, starting with a marketing problem, and diagnose the root causes of failure points.  

The responsibilities of your CMO will overlap into strengthening your customer experience, financial and strategic business tasks. Thus, your Interim CMO’s role will serve as a pivotal focus in your business by aligning your goals with your customers. As mentioned earlier, customer engagement is now more effective than traditional advertising strategies. This focus on connecting to customers requires your Part Time CMO to think outside of the box and ensure the customer experience is effective. This requires that your Remote CMO take an outward approach, starting with the customer, rather than developing strategies focused on your business story. Story-telling is necessary however, how can we best make your business about the customer? This question will be at the forefront of your CMO’s mind when making strategic decisions around your customer experience. 

A strategy developed around the customer requires Chief Marketing Officer functions to diversify and meet expectations throughout the company when it comes to growth, innovation, and analysis too. Your Interim Chief Marketing Officer will help set plans for your business that influence growth. Growth needs will vary between companies and can be more defined by your Part Time CMO. Innovation is hard to come by in traditional functions. To keep up with the demands of the digital marketing space, innovation is a requirement. An analysis is a way of measuring the results of your company’s efforts. Your Fractional CMO will often need to work in iterations of making assumptions, testing them, analyzing the results of those tests and assessing performance. 

A skilled Part time Chief Marketing Officer is familiar with tools and analytics methods that can aid in gauging performance. Your CMO will use the acquired analysis results to determine what is working for your business and advise you. It is not uncommon for a Remote Chief Marketing Officer to advise against using particular methods. As mentioned earlier, an effective leader does not follow what is popular. The right Part Time CMO for your company may disagree with you when a particular strategy is not the best course of action for your business. 

These decisions are well-intentioned and based on data, not only from what is currently being gathered about your business but also the lessons learned from previous experiences. 

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, sixty-eight percent of senior managers now expect CMOs to be growth drivers which comes as no surprise to Proctor & Gamble’s former CMO, Kimberly Whitler. “Now, not only do marketers have to be finance experts, but they have to be technologists and understand the ways in which they can connect with consumers.”

The scope continues to widen for Remote Chief Marketing Officers and that requires your Part Time CMO to find a balance between meeting your customer’s needs while generating revenue and facilitating growth for your business.

What Is The Typical Tenure of A Traditional Chief Marketing Officer And How Does An Interim CMO Compare With The Traditional CMO?

One misconception is that your business needs a traditional Chief Marketing Officer in house. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although a Chief Marketing Officer may be expected to work with you for some time, due to the drastic evolution and confusion about the CMO role, CMOs are most likely to have the shortest tenure among C-Level Suite groups. Due to this trend, an Interim Chief Marketing Officer is the perfect fit for your company as the role evolves. The definition of the position has created a lot of confusion leading to shorter tenures. 

The Digital Marketing Institute reports that only fifty-seven percent of CMOs have been in their position for three years or less, with the average tenure being a little over four years. This is almost half the time of the average CEO tenure and less than the average five years for CFOs.

It is common for Chief Marketing Officers to sit on the executive committee and report to the CEO. Lack of clarity when it comes to the Chief Marketing Officer role and a misunderstanding of what the organization needs versus what is assumed needs has led to many CMOs exploring other titles. This shift may leave a gap in your organization if you have been running your business for some time. This need is a great opportunity to bring in a Part Time Chief Marketing Officer that can fill in any needs unresolved due to your CMO moving on to explore other opportunities or failure rates resulting in roles left unfilled. A Remote Chief Marketing Officer is also a viable option if you have an online business. A Remote CMO can serve as an extension to your in-house executive committee. 

As a result of the confusion over duties and responsibilities, many organizations report that finding the right Chief Marketing Officer quite the challenge. In addition to finding the talent, companies also experience difficulties in retaining their appointed CMO. Low retention rates are due to organizations not defining their needs and expectations of this role.

A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer is all too familiar with such challenges. Defining their role and adapting to an organization is a collaborative experience. Clear expectations make working with a Remote CMO run smoothly. As opposed to guiding a traditional CMO. 

Eighty percent of CEOs report dissatisfaction with the performance of their CMO. That is quite a staggering statistic. This may be due to the lack of clear outlined expectations set by the CEO. A clear definition of the CMO function is also imperative.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, a CMO Council survey reported that 48% of CMOs had a strategic focus. These CMOs needed time to spend on assessing long-term growth plans. Half of them spent time reviewing budgets, managing campaigns, and content approval instead. This leaves little time for their remit. 

What Are The Types of CMO Roles?

A common misconception is that a Chief Marketing Officer will fill the same duties as other. The differences among company needs and their customers vary so much. This creates an atmosphere where the CMO role is more fluid by nature. Chief Marketing Officers must adapt to the needs of their market. Companies may have more than one target market. This requires the need for a skilled and evolved Interim CMO. There are three buckets that a CMO may fall under. Whitler and Morgan break Chief Marketing Officer roles down into three different types. These are Enterprise Wide, Strategy Focus, and Commercialization. 

The majority of Chief Marketing Officers natural fall under the Commercialization type. A Commercialization CMO focuses on the following:

  • Marketing and sales communications
  • Digital content development
  • Events, and promotions
  • Advertising
  • Social media engagement

Roughly one-third of CMOs are of the Strategy Focus type. These Chief Marketing Officers are particularly focused on growth strategy. They focus their responsibilities on customer insights, innovation as well as product design. 

The smallest category, which is Enterprise-Wide CMOs, are responsible for encouraging business growth. They drive profitable sales, marketing communications, innovation as well as design. A reputable Fractional Chief Marketing Officer will be able to work across the three.

Effective Digitization And How A Remote Chief Marketing Officer Can Help

The digital age of marketing continues to grow at a rapid pace. Your online presence can expand your business globally. Making it imperative to make digital decisions that make sense. "Going viral” is not the answer to the growth of your business which it comes to digital strategy. A well versed Remote CMO will be able to apply the right digital marketing strategy for you. 

Your Fractional CMO will focus on short term applications but also long term goals. A solid strategy goes beyond being popular. Making a decision to go viral, can cause serious and costly business impact. The right Part Time CMO for your business will steer you in the direction. Especially when considering all digital alternatives.

To ensure your success, it is important to have a clear understanding of how your CMO will fit in your business. 

Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2018/01/25/why-a-chief-marketing-officers-role-is-not-what-it-used-to-be/#7b339ccc4bd0

http://www.artfulthinkers.com/10-reasons-for-hiring-outsourced-cmo

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rajeevpeshawaria/2019/07/03/the-three-biggest-misconceptions-about-leadership/#3ae5364784b2

https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-us/blog/the-evolution-of-the-cmo-whats-next

Share This Post