If Marketers Are So Smart…
By Al McClain
If you’ve been to any retailing industry conferences lately, you know that
there is no shortage of presentations with titles like “Branding in a Global
Marketplace,” “Reinventing Marketing,” or “Connecting with Shoppers.” And, many
conference workshops showcase the fact that new media can now be measured, consumer
demand can be forecast, and we have more shopper insights and marketing options
than ever before.
“Gut feel” is out and measurement is in. So, with all these new tools and insights,
things should be just peachy in the marketing department, right?
Wrong. According to a new Spencer Stuart study reported this week in Ad
Age, the average Chief Marketing Officer’s tenure is 23.2 months
– and has actually declined from last year. Further, 53 percent of CMO’s
have been on the job less than a year. One bit of good news is that nearly
25 percent have been on the job 3+ years. (Note: these statistics are not retailing
So, with more tools available, and presumably smart people in these jobs, they
sure aren’t staying long. Why? Factors suggested in the Ad Age article
- Short-term Wall Street demands
- Lack of access to CEO’s
- Changing media mix
- Job switching
- Inability to balance board/shareholder expectations and necessary innovation
Moderator’s Comment: In the retailing industry, what
are “best practices” for marketers looking to establish the proper balance between
short and long term marketing needs? Is there a way for marketers at public
companies to satisfy shareholders and executive boards, while innovating to
the degree necessary to effectively compete?
It all boils down to communication. A great marketing
plan, poorly communicated to top management, will fail due to lack of support.
A top marketing exec needs to be a great marketer AND be able to convince the
controlling forces that the plan is in the long- and short-term interest of
the company. Clearly, this mix of skills is in short supply.
Al McClain – Moderator