Marketers are fascinated with titles. Just look at the publicity surrounding Coke’s shift to a Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer and then their move to a Chief Growth Officer and now back to a Chief Marketing Officer. The title changes often reflect an important nuance in the nature of the position—a shift in the prioritization of responsibility.
Although it seems like every possible title has already been created for marketing chiefs (e.g., Chief Experience Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Customer Officer, and so forth), I recently came across a new title: The Chief Market Officer. Below is insight from Christine Heckart, a former Chief Marketing Officer who is currently the CEO of Scalyr, on why she felt it important to change the CMO title.
Kimberly A. Whitler: What made you want to move from CMO to CEO?
Christine Heckart: I have wanted to run a company for a long time and the timing and opportunity were right. My background in creating and shaping markets was well suited to the opportunity. I had several large brands on my resume (MSFT and Cisco) which gave confidence to the decision makers, but I had also started and run small companies.
Whitler: What does it mean for Scalyr to have a Chief Market Officer instead of a Chief Marketing Officer?
Heckart: Overall, I’m a huge believer in markets…. creating them from whole cloth, reshaping them based on a new vision, and changing the way people within them behave and believe. I’ve spent my career doing this. It’s why I have advocated, for years, that heads of marketing must, first and foremost, be chief MARKET officers, not marketing.
It means I expect my CMO to play a key role in driving strategy, understanding the market and the customer, shaping the market in our image and after our likeness, creating a unique point of view to influence beliefs and behaviors, and create demand rather than just “leads.”
Whitler: How has the particular title of Chief Market Officer benefited your own role and the success of the company?
Heckart: In my own career I have largely operated as a Chief Market Officer. I expect and empower my CMO to participate fully in the strategy of my current company and how we operate, including what I’ve described above. We are early in our development, so the full results are yet to be seen, but our KPIs across the company are all up and to the right.
Whitler: Why do you think more CMOs should rethink the title?
Heckart: Marketing roles have largely been made impotent through a combination of title diffusion (there are also chief product, digital, revenue, customer, innovation, growth, etc. etc. officers….all of which take the soul from marketing) and role diffusion. Marketing has to cover a huge range of activities from demand generation (strategic market shaping), lead generation (tactical customer stalking/nurture), Public Relations, Analyst Relations, web/social, product/solution, event/experience, and so on.
As such, all have become tactically focused on the “ING” or tactical activities that can be easily measured on a granular, daily, basis) instead of the Market (strategic objectives that drive revenue and growth and can be inferred through measurement of KPIs like share, books, penetration, growth rate, etc.)
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