CMOs roles and responsibilities are broadening. They are forging close ties with their CFOs over matters of accountability and ROI, and their CTOs regarding digital and social media channels. And they’re increasingly owning the reputational aspect of the organization because the enlightened CMOs understand the growing effect that reputation is having on brand, globally.
The principal analyst in marketing leadership at Forrester, Chris Stutzman, recently spoke at the CMO Club Spring Summit and echoed many findings from the white paper he created for his organization, “CMO Mandate: Adapt Or Perish”. According to the research, a staggering 75 percent of marketers plan to re-organize their function by the end of 2011.
What does that mean for public relations professionals? Ann Lewnes, SVP of global marketing for Adobe Systems, cannot fathom how the marketing and PR function could continue to be separated because “they are so inextricably linked and blended now that I don’t see how that could work….”
So, public relations pros either become CMOs themselves or they work alongside the CMO in their organization. One thing is certain: integration is the way of the future. According to Simon Sproule, corporate vice president of global marketing communications at Nissan, “It’s neither PR nor marketing coming into each other. It is the creation of a third discipline, a new profession as Jon Iwata [IBM] calls it. We are not eliminating PR. We are not eliminating marketing. There will be people who have specialized skills who will continue to operate in their universe and do it very well. But we have a need for a third type of individual who ultimately will become the norm rather than the exception, which will be people who are much more comfortable thinking in terms of integration and 360-degree communication as opposed to just thinking about marketing and PR.”
And the need to become “integrationists”, as Sproule calls it, becomes even more acute when taking into account the global perspective. Regardless of their home base, CMOs will need to market where they see the greatest opportunity for growth and expansion. And aspects of an organization’s social graph, that is how it engages with its audiences or its brand reputation, will continue to transcend borders, making the global CMO role even more complex and challenging.
MaryLee Sachs was most recently US chair and worldwide director of consumer marketing at Hill & Knowlton. She recently launched her new book, The Changing MO of the CMO, How the Convergence of Brand and Reputation is Affecting Marketers.