Do’s and Don’ts from a Disgruntled CMO

We received a call from a very frustrated executive currently working as CMO of a large company in the Midwest. [...]

July 25 2011 by John Kador


We received a call from a very frustrated executive currently working as CMO of a large company in the Midwest. His main frustration is with a founder CEO who, having been responsible for marketing early in his career, insists on micromanaging marketing. This CMO has been on the job less than two years and is already ready to jump ship. He asked us to withhold his name for obvious reasons. Here is one CMO’s list of do’s and don’ts for CEOs who want to get the most out of their CMOs.

Do:

  • Be the chief “visioneer”—have a vision and promote it internally and externally.
  • Hire quality people and empower them to do their jobs. Make sure they buy in to your vision and the culture.
  • Hold the CMO accountable.
  • Remember that your value-add to the company is not your domain expertise, but overall vision and leadership.
  • Walk the walk. You can’t assume that everyone knows what your values are even when you tell them because your actions speak so loudly we can’t hear what you’re saying.

Don’t:

  • Be the CMO—you already have one of those. Trust him/her to do his/her job. Provide a clear set of expectations, set the boundaries, and then turn your CMO loose to do the job.
  • Treat your CMO into a glorified marketing administrative assistant.
  • Allow yourself to be the court of first resort when there is a dispute between sales and marketing.