Here’s a bit of news. Chief marketing officers (CMO) get fired. A lot. In fact, according to a 2013 Korn/Ferry study, we’re the most fired executive in the board room. At any given time, it’s estimated that about one-third of all CMOs are out of work or looking for their next gig.
Almost makes you want to switch careers and become a Starbucks barista, doesn’t it?
The thing is, you might be the greatest marketer on the planet, but that doesn’t mean anything if you’re not in the right environment to succeed. For instance, you struggle to see eye to eye with a CEO that doesn’t understand marketing or appreciate the value our profession provides to the company. Or, maybe the product just doesn’t live up to its potential. CMOs spend a lot of money but we don’t hold ourselves accountable to the numbers. In the end,, we find ourselves hitting the pavement and digitally knocking on doors looking for a better match.
With that said, CMOs need to choose our next positions wisely.
To start, we need to extinguish the belief that cool companies are cool to work for. That’s hard to dispel when you look at companies such as Coca-Cola, Disney and Facebook.
I used to think that way until I worked at some great brands and realized that the work environment didn’t exactly fit the brand’s outwardly cool factor. It’s not always the case, but if we’re looking for a healthy career, we need to dig a little deeper and look beyond how we perceive the brand from a consumer standpoint — it’s not all Mickey and Pluto and loveable polar bears—and see it for what it really is.
What I discovered was that the brand of the company doesn’t really matter as much as having a solid working environment—one where you are supported and are set up for success. We’ll get into the litmus test on the next entry, but goal is to find yourself in a job surrounded by a great management team, a working product that customers like, and a budget you can spend.
Editor’s note: David will expand upon what makes for a good career fit for a CMO, and how to determine it during the job interview process, in Part 2 of “When Marketing Jobs Become Uncool.”