Sunday, February 17, 2008

How Should CMOs Navigate Today's Media Waters?

I was asked this question a few months back on a panel at an iMedia event. My answer then was an “it depends” response that I was not proud of, but over the last few months this discussion topic has come up numerous times at our CMO CLUB dinners. As I listen to other CMOs talk about their approach I noticed a few interesting perspectives.

The first thing to understand is your specific company and CMO pressures. As I approach this answer three specific pressures come to mind:
1) The shift from being held accountable for Brand Building to Business Building.
2) The changing requirement for integrating the “Art” of Customer Experience with the “Science” of hitting your numbers.
3) The never ending challenge of inspiring your organization to care about winning more than being afraid of losing.

I submit where you and your company are in regard to these three pressures should impact your approach to leveraging today’s media. For example if your company is highly risk adverse your ability to leverage new media could be more difficult. If hitting short term numbers are top priority, again you may run into support problems in leveraging new media for improved customer engagement.

As you look at your key initiatives and how best to leverage today’s media, I suggest the following framework:
1) List your key objectives (demand generation, sales, learning about consumers, learning about partners, identifying net promoters, etc.)
2) For each objective as you develop your programs, create three buckets for applying media to an objective:
a. Participate (active participation/resource allocation for a given media)
b. R&D (plan and execute specific tests or research leveraging a given media)
c. Monitor (develop external monitoring process and specific hurdle rates for a decision on leverage a given media based on success by other industries, segments or competitors).
Additionally, if you want to educate your organization to the value of new media, move $ and resources into a specific R&D bucket for campaigns/programs to share results and gain buy in to larger resource commitments for future programs.

By using a framework like this you can develop a systematic approach to monitoring, testing and leverage today’s media within your programs. Any other ideas for the rest of our CMOs in the club?

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