McKinney president Jeff Jones says marketing needs a CMO - McKinney

McKinney president Jeff Jones says marketing needs a CMO

November 13, 2009

The following is an excerpt of Jeff McKinney President Jeff Jones’ article featured in Advertising Age’s CMO Strategy:

The truth is, marketing needs marketing. What if marketing had a CMO? How would we reposition the role to restore credibility?

Ad agencies, forget about the ads for a minute.

Agencies have to recognize, and reorganize, around the fact that it’s not just about the ads. I believe to my core that a big idea brilliantly executed can change the world, but our true strategic value lies in helping clients be successful by navigating the digital tsunami, truly delivering integration and being accountable to our own recommendations. This kind of partnership not only gives credibility to marketing, but also helps demonstrate it is more than communications.

Universities, make marketing relevant again.

I routinely hear in the classroom at Duke and UNC that marketing has become a lost profession. Students don’t see its value because textbooks make its principles irrelevant and dated. What if universities taught marketing with even more real-time, hands-on applications? Or learned a few lessons from IIT Institute of Design’s Master of Design/MBA degree that blends the unique skills of business acumen and design?

Hiring executives, put some teeth into the CMO job description.

If a CMO were given all the tools she needs to live fully in the role, she’d own growth. And she’d have the hardest job in corporate America, because nobody else must be extraordinary at strategy and analytics, finance, consumer trends, creativity, new media and innovation. Sure, this person may be hard to find, but they would be much more successful and valuable to the organization.

Let’s shift the conversation from responsibilities to accountability, from deliverables to outcomes. And stop using the CMO title as bait to attract qualified candidates. There is nothing inferior about marketing communications; let’s call it what it is.

Executive recruiters, don’t be so eager to profit from churn.

There’s nothing wrong with filling roles, but you have strategic counsel to provide. Marketing will regain credibility when the recruiter says to the CEO, “You don’t need another CMO. I placed him two years ago, and he’s one of the best in the business.” What if the problem is somewhere else in the organization? What if there was a new model for evaluating marketing talent before they are hired? What if recruiters weren’t paid for the search but for the success of the individuals they placed?

CMOs, reclaim your rightful role.

First, stop reading and take the survey at Better yet, make sure your CEO takes it, too. You’ll both see very quickly if your organization is taking full advantage of what a wholly empowered CMO has to offer.

The best CMOs are great business leaders with political savvy, original thinking and an incredible ability to lead and inspire all levels of an organization. They know what works and seek what’s next — all at the same time. They’re people like Cammie Dunaway, Jeffrey Hayzlett, Eric Ryan, Richard McDonald, Becky Saeger and David Burwick.

I’m frustrated by marketing being so misunderstood by so many, and I’m tired of reading articles placing all of the responsibility on the CMO. If we want to reinvent the conversation from service provider to growth champion, we all have a stake, and a role to play, to benefit future marketers in generations to come.

Marketing cannot become a lost profession; it is one of the toughest, most demanding and most rewarding roles in any organization.