Chief Marketing Consultant — Is it time for one?

The role of the chief marketing officer today is more complicated and diverse than ever. Marketing itself has become significantly more sophisticated and typically utilizes complex technology to distribute your message, analyze results and drive awareness and revenues.  While the “science” of marketing has advanced, so has the art. Today’s social media-driven world is not the one-way megaphone of advertising’s bygone years. Your positioning must be consistent and deft. You need to monitor your brand as well as that of your competitors. Opportunities can come, and go, in an instant, and once momentum is lost it is hard to regain.

These increasingly complex challenges mean that a “one-size-fits-all” CMO approach may not work well for your organization.  You often need a specialist, frequently on an interim basis, to move quickly, make corrections, or transfer knowledge. Sometimes an interim CMO fills a vacant position, but many times they work with your current CMO. Or, if you’re needing a change, they help you find the right long-term person to take the reins.  This is not to be seen as a mark against your current CMO. As Michael Corleone said in The Godfather to his own step-brother “You’re not a wartime Consigliere, Tom”. Sometimes you just need the right man or woman for the job at hand.

Think of CMO to mean Chief Marketing Office – which might be filled by one or more resources depending on your needs.  Here are a few common situations that benefit from a seasoned and specialized Chief Marketing Consultant:

 

Brand Relaunch

Has your brand become old and faded, or worse, have incidents or situations left negative sentiment about your brand?  Don’t think lightly about a potential brand “do-over”. This requires just the right set of skills and is much more art than science.  This should not be a “let’s change the logo” exercise. Rather, like a watchmaker repairing a timepiece, a Chief Marketing Consultant specializing in this area will examine all the components of the brand under a microscope to determine which one(s) are faulty and need replacing.  The assessment should consider viewpoints from each of your constituents (customers, public, investors, partners, and employees) – and yes, of course, we are going to change the logo 😉 — just kidding.

 

Product Launch

Launching new products or services requires considerable effort and skill.  This is a perfect time to bring in a Chief Marketing Consultant who has relevant launch experience and track record.  This requires big imagination-capturing ideas coupled with extremely detailed press, media, and social strategy – Left brain meets right brain.  You need a wizard of both art and organization with a pinch media magic.

 

Tech

Let’s face it, your MarTech (marketing technology) is behind.  If it wasn’t yesterday, then it probably is as of this morning.  All kidding aside, tech moves faster than ever, and you must keep up with the latest advances while simultaneously building a robust and intraoperative tech stack.  The key is being able to discern the difference between the latest bright, shiny flash-in-the-pan gizmo and technology advancements that can generate demonstrable business results.  However, designing your tech stack is just the beginning. As they say, “the devil is in the details”, getting your staff trained and/or adding select specialists or hiring an external agency can be daunting when you don’t know the right interview vetting processes.

 

Transition

Sometimes it’s time to retool and make changes.  Finding a leader that can align your organization and brand with new purpose and vision isn’t an easy hire.  A good Chief Marketing Consultant can guide you to the right candidates and provide the tough questions and experience to sort the wheat from the chaff. Not to mention they often have a solid network of important connections to help you discover just the right person.

 

Of course, there are many other scenarios that benefit from bringing in some seasoned marketing guns. They can help to make sure your brand and people don’t get left in the competitive dust. Make sure you are considering all the angles and getting good advice when it comes to making decisions about one of your most important assets – your brand.