“Chief Marketing Officer” Hot Potato Of A Job

The New York Times: According to a study released this week by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, which surveyed 100 companies, marketing chiefs had an average tenure of 22.9 months – compared with chief executives with an average stay of 53.8 months. Nearly half of the chief marketers surveyed had been on the job for less than a year, and 14 percent for at least three years.
Marketing experts attribute the job’s short lifespan to several factors, including the tendency of the chief executive to have unrealistic expectations.
“I think at the end of the day, there’s a malalignment of expectations of what a true C.M.O. can do,” Greg Welch, a consultant at Spencer Stuart, said. “These people who are being bounced out of these jobs are quality, smart, creative, proven marketers. Either they’re not giving people time to be successful, or our expectations for what they can achieve are just too herculean.”
Rob O’Regan, the editor of the 25,000-circulation C.M.O. Magazine, said the nature of the job makes it difficult to quantify results. “It’s hard to measure some of the effectiveness of what marketing does, especially when it deals with customer loyalty and brand building,” he said. “It makes it hard to justify all the budgets that you’re getting.”
In the end, who has the power in the boardroom depends on the economy, said John Quelch, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
“Marketing always receives a little more respect during upticks in economic cycles,” Mr. Quelch said. “When the economic cycles go down, the finance and economics guys will get to the forefront again.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.