Around the world, companies are transforming their business hierarchies to suit the fast-moving digital economy. Businesses are more focused on remaining agile, lean, and adaptive than ever before. Rigid structural hierarchies often make it difficult for companies to pivot in the face of new trends or technologies. That’s because as employees and executives become more entrenched in their roles within a company, change and flexibility become difficult, which, in the fast-moving information age we’re living in, can be a death sentence. One of the many inventive company structures that many companies are embracing is the use of interim Chief Marketing Officers, or CMOs, to bring their experience to the dynamic challenges faced by growing businesses. While the idea of an interim CMO might be new to some marketers, many companies have found that they can reduce marketing costs and improve outcomes by making use of this innovative strategy.
Let’s explore the role of traditional CMOs in more detail, and how interim CMOs are managing marketing responsibilities so effectively.
The Role of Traditional CMOs
CMOs are experienced marketing executives that lead the marketing department in meeting important key performance indicators (KPIs) that move the needle for the company they work for. CMOs oversee many different aspects of a company’s marketing efforts including brand management, advertising, public relations, customer service, market research, and marketing analytics.
As a result, effective CMOs have cross-functional skill sets, successfully tackling analytical, creative, and communication-oriented tasks, while leading the marketing team to successfully grow the company. Typically, CMOs report directly to the CEO. CMOs often interact with other members of the C-suite including the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Information Officer, and the Chief Communications Officer.
Since so much of their day-to-day responsibilities include managing marketers, CMOs must possess exceptional intrapersonal skills. Some of the primary challenges CMOs face is adapting to rapidly changing market conditions, particularly in the digitized economy that we live in today. That’s one of the primary reasons why interim CMOs have become an increasingly appealing option for many companies.
The Benefits of Interim CMOs
Interim CMOs are Chief Marketing Officers that are hired on a part-time basis, or for a limited timeframe to achieve KPIs a and strategic goals of the company they work for. Interim CMOs often step in to manage a business’s marketing department, and some CMOs even bring their own team to a company in order to meet marketing goals.
One of the most obvious benefits of hiring interim CMOs is that they are often more affordable than their traditional, full-time counterparts. Companies that wish to limit marketing expenses can benefit from working with interim CMOs who can manage a marketing department in a lean, efficient, agile way.
Digital Authorithy Partners says that hiring an interim CMO can significantly reduce annual company overheads and reduce bloat. For some interim CMOs, it can be possible to work out project-based payment plans in which the CMO is paid for a specific scope of work. This can go even further in reducing costs and making salaries and fees for CMOs more transparent.
Another benefit of interim CMOs is that they often bring a more diverse set of skills and expertise to solving business challenges due to their past projects and experiences. Since interim CMOs frequently work with different companies they have often developed a broad, adaptable skill set that they can rely on when encountering new marketing challenges. This is not always the case with tradtitional CMOs, who might spend many years working with the same company and solving similar problems each day.
In a sense, interim CMOs can provide companies a more robust, cross-functional set of skills for a fraction of the cost.
Another important benefit that interim CMOs provide to companies is that they can avoid being siloed or separated into specific parts of an organization. Silos are a common challenge for many businesses since they can prevent effective communication across departmental lines in a company. This often results in different parts or individuals of the company putting their own needs ahead of those of the business.
In fact, silos can often mean that instead of working towards common organizational goals, parts of a business can become at odds with other segments, and in some extreme cases, actively work to undermine other departments. This is particularly common in large corporations, in which departments or individuals might work to advance their own interests at the expense of others, and of the corporation as a whole.
Interim CMOs can be one possible way to prevent silos from developing and proliferating. Since interim CMOs don’t belong to one particular faction of the marketing department or company as a whole, they can often take a leadership role in uniting key stakeholders to do what’s best for the company.
In conclusion, it’s clear that interim CMOs are already changing how many businesses operate for the better. Given the trends towards agile management structures and digitization, there is every reason to believe that this trend can and should continue.