The objectives of this section is to help students …
- Identify the people responsible for creating marketing plans in organizations.
The average tenure of a chief marketing officer (CMO) can be measured in months—about twenty-six months or less, in fact (Mummert, 2008). Why? Because marketing is one of those areas in a company in which performance is obvious. If sales go up, the CMO can be lured away by a larger company or promoted.
Indeed, successful marketing experience can be a ticket to the top. The experience of Paul Polman, a former marketing director at Procter & Gamble (P&G), illustrates as much. Polman parlayed his success at P&G into a division president’s position at Nestlé. Two years later, he became the CEO (chief executive officer) of Unilever (Benady, 2008).
However, if sales go down, CMOs can find themselves fired. Oftentimes nonmarketing executives have unrealistic expectations of their marketing departments and what they can accomplish1 . “Sometimes CEOs don’t know what they really want, and in some cases CMOs don’t really understand what the CEOs want,” says Keith Pigues, a former CMO for Cemex, the world’s largest cement company. “As a result, it’s not surprising that there is a misalignment of expectations, and that has certainly led to the short duration of the tenure of CMOs.”
Moreover, many CMOs are under pressure to set rosy sales forecasts in order to satisfy not only their executive teams but also investors and Wall Street analysts. “The core underpinning challenge is being able to demonstrate you’re adding value to the bottom line,” explains Jim Murphy, former CMO of the consulting firm Accenture. The problem is that when CMOs overpromise and underdeliver, they set themselves up for a fall.
Much as firms must set their customers’ expectations, CMOs must set their organization’s marketing expectations. Marketing plans help them do that. A well-designed marketing plan should communicate realistic expectations to a firm’s CEO and other stakeholders. Another function of the marketing plan is to communicate to everyone in the organization who has what marketing-related responsibilities and how they should execute those responsibilities.
Katie Scallan-Sarantakes develops and executes marketing plans for the Gulf States region of Toyota. Her path to this position is not unusual. Listen as she describes what she did to prepare herself for a position running a regional marketing office of a major global automaker.
[(1) Quotes in this paragraph are from Kate Maddox, “Bottom-Line Pressure Forcing CMO Turnover,” B2B 92, no. 17 (December 10, 2007): 3–4]
Marketing Planning Roles
Who, within an organization, is responsible for creating its marketing plans? From our discussion above, you might think the responsibility lies with the organization’s chief marketing officer (CMO). The reality is that a team of marketing specialists is likely to be involved. Sometimes multiple teams are involved. Many companies create marketing plans at the divisional level. For example, Rockwell International has so many different business areas that each does its own strategic planning. The division responsible for military avionics, for instance, creates its own marketing plans and strategies separately from the division that serves the telecommunications industry. Each division has its own CMO.
Figure 13.1: Marketing plans at the division level
Rockwell International’s many divisions serve a diverse set of industries, from military avionics and communications to consumer and business telecommunications. That’s why Rockwell develops marketing plans at the division level (business-unit level).
(5chw4r7z – MAPS Air Museum – CC BY-SA 2.0.)
Some of the team members specialize in certain areas. For example, the copier company Xerox has a team that specializes in competitive analysis. The team includes an engineer who can take competitors’ products apart to see how they were manufactured, as well as a systems analyst who tests them for their performance. Also on the team is a marketing analyst who examines the competition’s financial and marketing performance.
Some marketing-analyst positions are entry-level positions. You might be able to land one of these jobs straight out of college. Other positions are more senior and require experience, usually in sales or another area of marketing. Marketing analysts, who are constantly updating marketing information, are likely to be permanent members of the CMO’s staff.
In some consumer-goods companies with many brands (such as P&G and SC Johnson), product—or brand—managers serve on their firm’s marketing planning teams on an as-needed basis. These individuals are not permanent members of the team but participate only to the extent that their brands are involved. Many other members of the firm will also participate on marketing planning teams as needed. For example, a marketing researcher is likely to be part of such a team when it needs data for the planning process.
- The CMO of a business unit is likely to be responsible for the creation of its marketing plan.
- The CMO is generally assisted by marketing professionals and other staff members, who often work on marketing planning teams as needed.
- Marketing analysts, however, are permanent members of the CMO’s staff.
Benady, D., “Working with the Enemy,” Marketing Week, September 11, 2008, 18.
Mummert, H., “Sitting Chickens,” Target Marketing 31, no. 4 (April 2008): 11.