A lot of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are changing jobs. Over the past few months, companies with new CMOs include: Blockbuster, Domino’s Pizza, KMART, Cheesecake Factory, Sears, Monster, Hertz, Heineken, PepsiCo, Booz & Company, Target, Barclaycard US, Omni Hotels, and T-Mobile.
Since there are so many new CMOs, I thought I’d offer some advice on how to get going in the role. So here are the first 8 steps that I’d take as a new CMO:
- Re-establish our brand. Many companies have lost site of who they really are; they’ve lost their souls. One of my first steps will be to redefine our brand attributes through a process of internal interviews/workshops (to uncover what we believe) and customer testing (to see how we’re perceived).
- Put our agency work out to bid. Let’s face it, even the best agencies can get complacent. So I’d put all of our agencies (advertising, interactive, PR, etc) on notice that they’ll need to compete to keep our business. This should help drive innovation, get the “A” teams assigned to our account, and cut some costs.
- Refine our target segments. Most companies don’t know which segments are most important or they haven’t truly focused on some key segments. So I’d kick-off an effort to figure out the segments that can provide us with the highest lifetime value and examine what drives the purchase decisions of those segments.
- Increase investment in customer insight. In all of my work with large organizations, I’ve never heard anyone say “we spent too much on customer insight.” That’s because most companies spend too little in this area. I’d find a way to do more customer research, including ethnographic field studies, to make sure that we truly understand our customers’ needs, interests, and desires.
- Build-up employee brand advocates. One of my 6 rules of customer experience is that unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers. So if we want to engage our customers, we need to start with our employees. I’d plan to spend up to 50% of my time working on employee communications and outreach; and build up internal brand advocates.
- Prioritize digital channels. Even if our company has focused on digital marketing channels, we are probably not moving as fast as we could be; especially if any of our target markets are younger consumers. I’d look to do more with online channels and weave together our online and offline campaigns.
- Improve usability of everything. I’ve evaluated the usability of 100’s of Websites as well as a bunch of phone, Web, store, IVR, and cross-channel experiences. And there are always a lot of problems. So I’d champion efforts to make sure that it’s much easier for customers to do business with us in every channel.
- Get people asking three questions. I’d make our company more customer-centric; shifting people’s thinking from inside-out to outside-in. How? By getting as many people as possible to regularly ask the 3 questions of a concept called “Scenario Design:” Who are your target users? What are their goals? How can we help them achieve those goals?
The bottom line: CMOs have a lot of opportunity to make a difference.