Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Chief Marketer

CMO, or Chief-Marketing-Officer is a very exciting role in any organization. unlike the CFO who directs numbers, nor the CHRO who supervises HR, nor the CTO who oversees technology, nor the CLO who mitigates legal risks, the core role of a CMO is to represent the whole industry, and that’s what successful marketing should be all about.

A Chief Marketer is that person who really believes in the value of the service their brand offers, and regards that brand as the best vehicle to deliver this service mainly because they work at it.

Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb’s CMO who started only 3 years ago (and announced that he is stepping down the end of this month) is the reason why Airbnb won all its popularity over its competition simply because he is a believer, not in Airbnb the brand, but in what Airbnb does to make life better.

During his time as CMO, Mildenhall shepherded some major campaigns for the brand including the “Don’t Go There. Live There” campaign.

He also said in 2016 when he was named an Adweek Brand Genius: “The idea of Airbnb helping to create a world where all 7.5 billion people can genuinely feel they can belong anywhere—it’s such a noble purpose. And we will probably not reach it in my lifetime. But it’s big enough, and tangible enough, to motivate not just the people at Airbnb but all the agencies and media partners we work with,”

That’s the role of the Chief Marketer, to be the visionary, to represent the industry, and to be the hand, of the organization, that gives humanity an improvement to their lives, a step forward towards more connections and understanding of who we are, what we want, why we are here, and how to be the best version of ourselves.

A CMO of a transportation network company like Lyft or Uber, or a payment service provider like PayPal or Stripe, or an online marketplace like Amazon or TaskRabbit, is not hired to run ads saying their company is the best, even if that’s the reason their company’s board hired them. They are in their positions to disrupt the status quo, to make a difference to humanity, and to change the world to the best they can make it be. A marketplace CMO’s goal is not to get as many traffic to the site as possible, but to serve as many people as possible.

Think of any business; pharmaceuticals, banking, accounting and auditing, consulting, mining, hospitality, or anything, you will find hundreds, or maybe thousands of organizations that offer the same service. A gifted Chief Marketer will be the leader of all those companies who focuses on the industry, as a whole, and the customer that can live a better life thanks to the existence of this industry, or technology, or science, etc. Not just a leader but also a bridge, a messenger, and an ambassador that connects the two. This sense of authority, control, and mission, is what distinguishes between a great Marketer and an ordinary one. It is with this vision that they know how to word their mission statement, goals, ad copies, and product. It is with this vision that you know how to price, where to sell, and whom to be talking to. Those great Marketers don’t have a problem designing their sites, their pipeline or drip marketing activities, training their sales reps, or wording their blog posts or email blasts. They find it natural to go out and talk to people and make them want to be part of something bigger than themselves and their businesses.

Steve Jobs, the greatest marketer of all the times, was so famous of delivering value and purpose through his company. He was not a technology person, nor a financial calculator, he was an inspiration, a visionary and a problem solver. He is the one who used to say, “We hire people who want to make the best things in the world.”


To Jobs, design is not about what a product looks like and feels like. Design is how it works, and help people. That’s why when he was asked what matters the most to him, he said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.”
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