In the McKinsey Quarterly article titled The evolving role of the CMO (MKQ 2007 Issue 3, pp.29-39), David Court discusses how the change in technology influences change in marketers' roles and how CEOs can help them set priorities and drive organizational change.
Some interesting points noted (quotes):
- User-generated media account for almost one-third of all the time individuals spend on the 100 most visited US Web sites, up from roughly 3 percent just two years ago. Consumers skeptical of push ads are flocking to a medium they trust more.
- Although good for consumers, this explosion of user-generated content comes with big risks for business. Individuals and nongovernmental organizations that don't fully understand the products of a company... can sometimes have as much influence over its image as its marketing communications unit... thus proving to be a short-term PR nightmare for many companies.
- It is, for example, the marketing department that is likely to develop (as Toyota Motor has done) programs to position a company in online communities such as Second Life, the leading virtual marketplace, which provides low-cost opportunities to learn how role-playing consumers would design and use new products
- A deep understanding of the needs of consumers in these markets and the trade-offs they make will be critical in designing products and retail formatss that strike the right balance between price and quality.
- Within marketing, for example, the ability to build brands across an increasing number of media, including vehicles dominated by user-generated content, will be critical.
The article concludes with three ideas for CEOs seeking to help their CMOs and ensure that their companies thrive:
- Take time to understand what's really happening with customers.
- Foster the right connection between the CMO's efforts and those of the other parts of the organization.
- Be a "thought partner" for the CMO as he or she transforms the marketing organization.