The Evolution of the CMO

The position of CMO has evolved quite a bit in the last 20 years, in large part due to the introduction of digital media. Major League Soccer CMO Howard Handler began his marketing career in the 1990s with the National Football League before moving on to Virgin Mobile. Now heading up marketing for a sport whose fans are young and digitally savvy, Handler is finding that the game is always in motion.

“Digital and social innovation and the availability of better and more accurate data have affected everything: the way we market and sell, the experience of the MLS supporter, how we create content, and a greater immediacy and overall sense of urgency.

Live sports are such a powerful medium these days, and it is great to be a content creator. Everything we do now, we think, ‘how will this be used and experienced on multiple screens?’ Our supporters are young, fit, tech-savvy and really committed to the club that they follow.

They want to consume everything Portland Timbers or Sporting Kansas City or LA Galaxy on multiple screens when and where they decide to watch it. We are all about super-serving our supporters. My focus is to expand our fan base, and I’m having a lot of fun doing it.”

Watch the following two-minute video to find out how [x+1] CEO John Nardonne thinks the role has changed since he began his career in the 1980s marketing for Pepsi.

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