What A CMO Wants. What A CMO Needs.

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What a CMO wants and what a CMO needs may not be what a CMO can get (just yet).

Being a Chief Marketing Officer is no easy gig. Recent studies in North America have found that a CMO lasts between 12-26 months (depending on who you ask). That’s nothing to laugh about and it creates a world of chaos for both companies and agencies who are trying to not only build a brand, but maintain some level of cohesion in the process. If you layer on top of that how challenged the Marketing department is within the organization (most see Marketing as an expense instead of looking at the overall economic value that it delivers to the organization) and the introduction of so many new Marketing opportunities (do we really need to use the words "Social Media" and "mobile" here, again?) and the picture becomes a little clearer (or hazier… if you’re said CMO).

So, what do CMOs really want out of Social Media (and do they think it’s going to save them)?

Our good friends over at Bazaarvoice decided to take a swipe at this question, and released the results in a nine page (and free!) report titled, CMOs On Social Marketing Plans For 2011. This is the second time that Bazaarvoice has conducted this survey with The CMO Club and in that short time, the attitudes of the CMO towards Social Media is already starting to change and take shape.

This is from the executive summary…

"In 2011, revenues remain critical, but the additional value of these consumer interactions — even beyond the site — lies within the key insights customers share with brands. These aggregated insights, when analyzed and put into action, create value far beyond the marketing organization, impacting products, vendor relationships, and corporate strategic initiatives."

Jason Falls over at Social Media Explorer pulled out the following insights that are worthy of re-mentioning:

  • CMOs are more clear than ever before that they want to measure sales conversion and revenue drivers. When you add the word “marketing” to “social media” its about business. Draw that line to the bottom line, or go home.
  • Still, CMOs don’t think they’ve figured Social Media and measuring it definitively out yet.
  • The “don’t know” how much value social networking activity brings answers are declining, meaning CMOs are getting better and smarter at measuring.
  • Ratings and review sites, branded communities and corporate blogs still lead the way for activities CMOs say bring average to significant return for their investment.

What does this all mean?

The majority of CMOs know and understand that Social Media is not just a fad. This interconnectedness of the consumer is not going away any time soon. The challenge is that they’re looking for answers that are comparable to what they’re doing in the more traditional advertising channels and they’re also interested in a  more direct-response relationship. This may work out for them, but it could very well not. From what we’ve seen in Social Media, it’s more about the relationships than it is about pushing sale, and it’s much more about building loyalty and care than it is about the current advertising campaign. That all being said, there are no real rules. Some consumers love following Twitter feeds that are filled with coupons and discounts while others want more of a real interaction between real human being.

It will be interesting to see how the CMO performs this year and going forward. How do you think they’ll do? 

If you want to learn more, Bazaarvoice is also offering up a free webinar on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 1 pm – 2 pm EST titled, CMOs Share Top Insights On The Bottom Line Of Social.


  1. While I can understand that CMOs want to measure “sales” and “conversions”, I think for many brands they’d be better served by focusing on customer service and satisfaction. In many cases, the times that brands are mentioned is when there are complaints. The brands that monitor social media closely take care of those complaints and create fans. Your best customer is the one who has already bought from you and will continue to buy.

  2. Social media will always have many of the same issues as Public Relations – because they are related. Both social media and PR can be measured, but not easily. Direct marketing is often more attractive due to the black and white measurement results.
    As a side — I often ask clients/prospects if they have ever clicked on a search link because they recognized the name (but never saw an ad). How did they know? Most likely read about it in social media, saw name in other search results, word of mouth due to great customer service or heard the name on a podcast etc. – they often get it.
    Many CMO’s will not trust social media because they can’t see the direct results.

  3. The world of Marketing is still the world of Marketing. The line between traditional and digital is blurring more and more everyday. When you get down to the core, great Marketers, who understand relevance and how to create something “worthy” of spreading, will achieve great results – regardless of the medium. That said, you sure better be up on all your mediums.

  4. CMO’s confort level of measurement and ROI reminds me of the arrival of scanner data in supermarkets and how great that data was. The result is the use of discount promotions exploded because they moved the needle and brands were literally distroyed. More than a few brands had to start over and rebuild a base of loyal users. The ROI measures that looked so precise failed to measure the long term equity of the brand.

  5. Mitch,
    Great post. This is how CMOs work should be understood well by any employer.

  6. Without a brand plan everything is a tactic. Packaging. Hiring. PR. Social.
    Most companies falter because they have a business plan and a marketing plan but no brand plan to guide them. They measure sales and tactics and rue the dashboard.

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