Marketing: What CMOs are thinking

Last month, Four51 had the chance to hang out for a couple of days with Chief Marketing Officers from all kinds of different organizations and businesses.

Below is a recap of what CMOs are thinking:

1. Four topics are top of mind: a) Search engine marketing and optimization, b) lead generation, c) social networking, d) digital and mobile messaging.

2. Printed communications did not get a mention. This isn’t to say printed/branded communications doesn’t have a place in the traditional marketing mix, but my sense of CMOs is that, to them, it’s a ‘known’ in terms of how and where it fits, and how to get it done. The big unknown today is where does print fit as CMOs come to better understand the ‘unknowns’ (that is, search engine marketing, social networking, etc…).

3. The keynote speaker, Kevin Joyce, CMO of Kodak Graphic Communications Group, emphasized that the role of marketing and its executive leadership in organizations should be on leading/driving the business model as much as the messaging. That is a terrific insight and, when you consider it from the point of view of new opportunities arising from things like social networking, search engine marketing and optimization, and mobile messaging that are intended to help business communicate and drive commerce, it seems that an unlimited opportunity for conversation with CMOs can emerge. The big question that goes along with this is: How are you thinking about new models for your business as well as for your customers?

4. This collection of executives is a new group, a community really, of CMOs formed for the purpose of helping CMOs and their organizations become better aware of and drive rapid adoption of best practices. It is called The CMO Club (www.thecmoclub.com).

5. If you are a CMO or have a senior marketing executive in your organization, you may want to learn more about this group, and perhaps join it. Keep in mind this is a learning community, not a place to hawk products and services. The guy to contact is Pete Krainik. His email is pete.krainik@thecmoclub.com. If you write him, tell him you heard about him and The CMO Club from this blog.

6. Finally, I do not know yet what to make of the social networking phenomenon. My four college and high-school aged kids tell me to ignore it. In fact, they refuse to allow me to create a Facebook page (one of my daughters accused me of being a creeper for even inquiring about getting a Facebook page, and when I told her that columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times has a Facebook page, she put me further in my place – er, corner – by declaring that no one cares about a newspaper guy, which is probably fodder for another blog at another time).

7. Anyway, LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is a social networking site for professionals like you and me. Go get signed up and invite your professional relationships to join you at Linked In. You may be surprised how many of your customers, suppliers, competitors etc. are already profiled at LinkedIn.

Like I said, I do not know where this will lead, but you will be smarter for the journey. And maybe your kids even think you are cool.

-Tim