Advertising Age featured a story, “Don’t Call Me CMO: Top Marketers Say Job Has Evolved Beyond Title,” I find quite amusing.
The giggle is more about the why.
Why do people feel the need to define themselves based on a single three-to-five word title? When a professional reaches the level of chief anything officer, they have successfully moved along the professional development career path to become a chief.
Why don’t we call everyone in the C-suite “Chief Cook & Bottle Washer?” That would sum up the role we’re all playing in the workplace today, right? Technology, analytics and social media have created a pea soup of necessary qualifications, and the chief marketer appears to be the most confused.
According to the article, some of the “better titles than CMO” proffered are:
- Chief Value Officer – what does “value” really mean? Value of what?
- Chief Growth Officer – isn’t marketing about growth already?
- Chief Innovation Officer – ah-hah, but limiting right? You come up with the ideas only and don’t put them into action?
- Chief Commercial Strategist – as opposed to residential?
- Chief Customer Officer – Who is the customer? Inside, outside? Maybe this means a sales person who is adopting a role in the C-Suite.
Title Soup in PR
Coming from a discipline of marketing frequently at odds about titles and roles, I get the confusion and need to create identity in the marketplace. Public relations professionals have been grappling with professional branding for a very long time; of late, we’ve been quite clever about hiding behind a really cool title to mask the fact we’re in public relations.
Perhaps it’s cool to be in public relations again?
I have now adopted the new label of “hybrid PR” for myself, thanks to Gini Dietrich’s blog post awhile ago when she described all the things PR peeps do in the marketing arena and it matched my competency. The only problem is it still requires explanation. At least hybrid vehicles paved the way for a combo engine, and people looking at a title can guess that hybrid means many things added to the mix. It’s pretty easy for me to just be president of Soulati Media, Inc. because that it indeed the title put on incorporation documents to get my federal tax ID number.
For those who lead teams in a corporate environment, there is so much merging and blending happening that I can see why the title thing has become an issue.
I don’t think there is a title for the chief marketing officer that can capture everything they’re responsible for, do you? The kettle has to simmer first before anyone will be able to tell.