Get A C.M.O. -- Before You Need One

Aug 28, 2013

John Malmo
Credit Archer>Malmo

Every company in the world operates in the shadow of obsolescence. Its markets always are in a state of flux: they’re either growing, or they’re shrinking.

No product, much less any brand, enjoys expanding markets forever, and when markets cease growing, it is only a matter of time before they shrink. This undeniable pattern is why every company needs at least one person to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to apply his company’s assets to the creation of new, customer-satisfying uses.

In most companies, he or she would be called the chief marketing officer, or C.M.O. The C.M.O. is most important in a rising market, when the company is under little pressure. If the market is shrinking, there are pressures and less time for experimenting and testing new concepts and products.

As always, the search should head in several directions at once. The C.M.O. at all times has a complete list of company assets. Top C.M.O.s often identify assets others might overlook.

A recent example is Delta Airlines C.M.O.’s brilliant labeling of Delta’s customers among its assets. He since has added a couple billion dollars of new revenue selling them things other than airline tickets.

If you don’t have anyone in your company who’s responsible for identifying opportunities for new customer-satisfying uses, you need one. Now.

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