businessman thinking about innovation in business

I’ve recently been in conversations with various technologists and chief marketing officers (CMO), and a really interesting concept recently came up. I think that in many cases, the CMO is actually the chief communications officer (CCO) instead of really running marketing. What does that mean?

The job of the CMO often includes helping with external press for an organization including press releases, responses to media inquiry, representing the organization at shows and providing materials internally to help brand an organization. But these are all really communications – not marketing.

Effective marketing means that you are engaging with your customers externally, and you aren’t just sending out a brand or a message – you are actively trying to engage with your customers at the right time, in the right channel with the right message. And if they are coming to you, you are responding back appropriately not only with your core services but additional information and offers that they may not be fully aware of.

If you aren’t engaging with your customers, trying to understand them better or tailoring your messages to their needs – I’d argue that you are really the CCO, not the CMO. That’s not a terrible thing, but it does mean that you are leaving lots of opportunity off the table. You could be helping to grow your business, providing better customer experiences or avoiding customer satisfaction issues.

And, I don’t buy many of the excuses I hear – we are too small, we don’t sell direct, we can’t afford the technology, we aren’t sophisticated, our customers are simple, our service doesn’t match typical marketing messages, etc. There are many ways to drive marketing that are inexpensive, simple and can reach both business partners and end customers. No more excuses, there is opportunity around the corner – take advantage of it.