The CMO View of Real-Time Marketing

Brands need to move as fast as ever. Former Kodak CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett sums it up this way: “This shit is scary.”

Digiday discussed with Hayzlett how brands should be organizing for digital. In his opinion, the CMO and the CIO are responsible for setting the standard in digital and to be the final say regarding all digital communications.

There was some news earlier this week about Citi getting rid of its digital marketing department because it felt everyone in marketing needs to know digital. Is this the direction brands should go?
Digital is one form of a tactic in marketing, just like knowing other mediums and other ways of doing business. I wouldn’t put someone in charge of telephone marketing, or a department in charge of telephone and a department in charge of print. Why would I have someone just in digital? It should be a way of life inside your organization.

Has the CMO role become bigger than necessary?
In no way, shape or form. The CMO just needs to establish a leadership position as a strategic officer of the company. Most CMOs are doing that, although a few CMOs are still acting as though it’s a communications job rather than an executive officer position.

What’s the biggest thing holding brands back from being agile and quick?
Usually, it’s the mindset of those getting the work done that is holding brands back. Meaning: They live in stories that they can’t move fast or that there are certain ways of doing things rather than saying, “What’s the best way to get it done?” and then doing it. You can lose weight if you make the right choices, but yet there are some people who choose not to make those right choices and instead continue with bad habits. It’s all about being a change agent within your company and implementing good habits.

A lot of organizations are hiring chief digital strategists. Necessary?
It is totally unnecessary. To me, that would only be a temporary position. What happens when we move beyond digital to some other medium? This should really be a job between the CMO and the CIO — working together in order to implement the assets of the company against needs of sales and marketing organizations. There is no reason to create an entirely new position when those two officers should be working together and getting it accomplished.

What’s your advice to brands? How should they organize themselves and prepare for real-time marketing?
Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do all the time? That’s the very definition of marketing: to meet the needs of customers and increase customer satisfaction to grow revenue and to grow margins. In essence, this is something we should already be doing. It’s not like you put something in place and then stop. It should constantly be a changing and evolving process.

Image via Shutterstock

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