You won't get what you want if you look in the wrong place

Maybe a call for a Chief [insert whatever you like] Officer is the plaintive cry of a forgotten discipline?

We’ve seen tons of talk in the IP Blogosphere about Chief IP Officers (CIPOs) (or Chief Aardvark Officers as Marshall Phelps quipped).

My suggestion, and I’ve said it before: Stop thinking you’re unique or different and start listening and learning from the broader business community.

Here are some annotated excerpts from a recent post from the team at Branding Strategy Insider calling for a Chief Marketing Officer.  (And thanks guys for a great post, by the way.)

"Given the tremendous marketing potential offered by the new media and proliferation of distribution channels, companies have begun to realize the huge potential of marketing in guiding corporate level strategies and substantially contributing to the financial bottom line."

Sounds just like the call to arms for Chief IP Officers to me.

"Further, not many companies have a senior marketing representative in their C-suite."

Same for IP.

"Why do companies need a Chief Marketing Officer? 

As the business landscape evolves, marketing also evolves into an organization wide strategic discipline. Given marketer’s knowledge of the customers, it is imperative that the CEO and the corporate board have a representative of the customer to continually educate them."

Yep, the IP community think the same thing about IP.

"Additionally, companies need a strategic CMO to benefit from:

Align marketing with the corporate business strategy:"

I’d love a dollar for every firm hawking IP services banging on about ‘aligning IP strategy with business strategy’ without knowing so very much about either.

"Connect the corporate boardroom with the customer:"

Delete customer and insert ‘technology’, ‘innovation’ or some other buzzword and you have the CIPO rhetoric to a T.

"Create a customer centric organization:"

Another dollar please for everytime I’ve seen ‘IP-centric business / organization / culture’

"Challenges faced by the CMO

It has been long argued that one of the fundamental challenges of marketing that has undermined the credibility of marketing, threatened the standing of marketing within a company, and even threatened the existence of the very discipline as a distinct entity is marketing’s failure to quantify its outcomes and justify investments into marketing activities."

This is stunningly similar to IP’s biggest problem, often blogged and talked about at conferences – demonstrating value.  But isn’t that a universal issue?

"The three main impediments in this regard are: (1) Relating marketing activities to long-term effects; (2) Separation of individual marketing activities from other actions and (3) Use of purely financial methods for justifying and benchmarking marketing investments. As such, CMOs are not given the opportunity to participate in the strategic decision making of the company."

I love number 3.  Number 3 is IP’s current achilles heel – purely financialy models and balance sheets don’t work for IP either.

"Two such daunting challenges are:

Measuring marketing outcomes:"


"Explaining marketing’s centrality in a company:"

Ditto and maybe it’s not always so central, guys.

"Internal training:"

Now there’s an idea…

"On the horizon

In the future, the CMO will emerge as the strategic connection between the corporate boardroom, the top management team, the CEO and the customer. Companies should offer the CMO the requisite status and power within the company. Furthermore, companies must create an organizational structure where CMOs can guide the company’s vision and mission by integrating the myriad functions within the company. The time is not too far when the success of the company depends on the strength of its marketing and the CMO."

Except the IP community bangs its fist and says the time is now, or yesterday.

[Photo credit: xynt4x]

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