CMOs are a funny breed. They work with a constant tension – half living in the shadow of the former incumbent and half looking towards their own future vision. And with a tenure that lasts about 45 months, that means that there is about two years’ worth of clean air for the marketing chief to make their stamp on a business. It’s precious little when you think about it.
So, from an agency point of view, working with a CMO also has challenging ramifications. Is there alignment between the agency and the CMO? Is there a long term partnership? Or is there a whole new agenda at play?
The Agency Management Institute has released a study that looks under the hood at what truly drives the agency partnership by interviewing CMOs from across the US. It reveals three main style of CMO:
- Looking for love: these are the CMOs who are in it for the long haul. They are looking for the one-stop-shop and see the agency as a partner in the business and brand building process
- Playing the field: this is the CMO who hires best of breed. They want the expert know-how and will shake up the agency relationship to keep the blood pumping
- Single and satisfied: these CMOs are firmly in control of their own destiny – they’ve got strong in-house teams and use agencies on a project by project basis.
Understanding the CMO you are dealing with can help you plan ahead. But there are some things that all the CMOs agreed upon – agencies need to stop being pushy and need to work on building trust levels. Easy to say, hard to do.