By Barbara S. Kaplan
Special to the Legal
Law firms and corporate America are questioning the role of the CMO as we know it. Fortunately, they are referring to the position, not the person.
Increasingly, in response to the forces of the new economy and client pressure – it’s a buyers’ market out there – firms have turned to a veritable C-suite of alphabet soup to remain profitable and truly client-focused.
Where does this lead us? To a unique combination of some of the following: CEO, CTO, COO and CIO. Newer to the mix are the CPO - chief pricing officer; CHRO - chief human relations officer; CCO – chief customer officer; and CSO - chief sales officer. Remember the CMO?
This is a universal issue. Even Forbes published an article titled “The Chief Marketing Officer is Dead” in its April 21 issue in which it said that the influence of the CMO is declining and should be reconfigured as the CCO, who adds value (and reclaims power) by being the voice of the client. What does the client need?
The new breed of CMO is projected to be an agent of change by:
- Leading change internally, serving as the collaborator who makes others aware and leads them to make change.
- Delivering efficiencies for the firm and its clients.
- Questioning how to do things differently – expanding and eliminating services; packaging services in new ways; making technology more relevant; matching the right talent to the right roles.
By using client and customer knowledge to build influence, the CMO becomes indispensible to making the firm more sensitive to the market by putting the client at the center and changing the way people think.
In this scenario, marketing is everyone’s job and, for some firms, it may no longer be looked at as an expense.
The firms that move in this direction will do so because it fits with their goals, resources and cultures. Others will not because it doesn’t. In either case, it’s valuable food for thought and exploration.
Barbara S. Kaplan is the principal of BSK Strategies. She works with individuals and firms to help build their business development skills, target and win higher-value work, establish thought-leadership and earn client loyalty.