We’re proud to bring you the 2nd edition of our special issue on brand marketers or ‘the clients’, in agency tongue. This time we’re calling it The CMO Special, because ‘CMO’, in its simplest form an acronym for chief marketing officer, has emerged as corporate shorthand for ‘the one who controls the marketing function for a brand’. So we’re putting marketing directors, marketing heads, mar-com execs and brand chiefs in the same boat. What one calls the person in-charge of breathing life into a product to make it a brand and then going to market with it, is but a matter of semantics.
Here’s how we went about this project: We asked over 50 CMOs across nine product groups (FMCG, BFSI, fashion/apparel, e-commerce, automobiles, consumer durables, handsets, QSR/retail and media) to answer a common set of 10-15 questions that cover different aspects of their world ‒ What is the hardest part of their job in the digital era? What challenges plague their respective categories? How does the consumer mindset change across geographies? How do they slice the media pie as it stands today? Do they wish they didn’t have to deal with dozens of creative custodians? Personally, my favourite question is around the subject of a pitch fee… it led to some of the coolest, at times explosive, answers.
This time, we added a personal touch to things and asked them three questions that have little to do with their work per se. We asked them to name their mentors, the brands they admire (Apple was a hot favourite, as was Amazon!), and what they’d be if not marketers. (You have no idea how many closet artistes, dancers, actors, sportspersons, musicians and novelists presently populate corporate corridors, masquerading as CMOs!)
One thing baffles me, though: The coveted consumer is made out to be this ever-evolving, digi-savvy, tech-comfy, thumb-wielding, app-swiping, attention-deficit, crazed, confident youngster, being hunted by a swarm of sweating marketers. Is the Millennial colossally misunderstood, after all?
That’s a debate for another issue, of course. For now, enjoy this one.