October 18, 2018

A CMO In Over His Head


I worked with a new Chief Marketing Officer. This poor dude was in OVER HIS HEAD!

He had no reporting to tell him what was really happening with his company.

He had one (1) analyst, and the analyst was not qualified to help the CMO. The analyst had pre-conceived ideas for how to "target" customers, and spent all day experimenting with different targeting equations. When I sat down with the analyst, I could easily see that the analyst new nothing about marketing other than targeting equations. He sounded a lot like me in my first year at Lands' End. However, he had a job one or two levels higher than my first job at Lands' End.

The CMO had an adversarial relationship with the merchandising team. I sat in a meeting where the merchandising team absolutely mulched the CMO. "You're the reason sales are down, you have no idea how to attract the right audience for what we sell!" was a direct quote ... and interestingly, the CMO had been in the job for maybe three or four months and was not working at the company when the sales downturn happened.

My time with the company ended a few months later when the CMO and the Analyst lit me up on the phone about the fact that merchandise productivity was poor. "You should fix this problem, this isn't our fault" was the quote I remember the CMO issuing, with the Analyst piling on for effect. Clearly, the two of them were transferring the assault they received from their marketing team on to me.

My work was done on that day.

The CMO was fired a few months later.

The Analyst kept working at the company.

It has been my experience that too many new Marketing Leaders have no idea what they are in for. They don't do the proper research before taking the job, they don't have the proper analytics when they begin working (i.e. Google Analytics gives you the wrong metrics to diagnose the true problem), and they don't know what levers to pull to move the business forward after they've been employed for a few months.

Hillstrom's Total Package teaches a process for the new Marketing Leader to implement on Day One of her tenure. Give the booklet a read (again, the Kindle version is just $0.99), and then start your tenure as a new Marketing Leader the right way ... be informed before you make decisions, ok?

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