We all know that the Chief Marketing Office (CMO) role has been under increasing pressure. Average tenures are short (and getting shorter) as CEOs more quickly become impatient when their organizations are not able to achieve their visions for growth. In this era of digital marketing, CMOs are no longer ‘off the hook’ for producing real, measurable results.
At the same time, recruiting costs are high and the cost of a wrong hire is even greater! As well-known VC firm Andreessen Horowitz states,
“Cast in the right role, a talented CMO has the potential to make a company. Getting this wrong can break it, since it’s very expensive and sets the company way back because mis-casting the CMO usually comes at the expense of growth.”
On top of this, experienced CMOs are not cheap! The cost to a mid-sized company bringing on its first CMO can easily exceed $500k/year. And that's after they take a significant piece of a company's equity.
No wonder some believe the CMO role is dead!
While this has been going on, the notion of buying a product or service has been transforming radically. Starting in the mid-2000’s with software being offered ‘as-a-Service’ (SaaS), now even non-software companies are beginning to rethink how to offer their solutions to the market.
Why is this ‘anything-as-a-service’ (sometimes called XaaS) revolution taking hold? The reasons are obvious:
Advantages for buyers:
Advantages for sellers:
Increasingly, companies are both purchasing XaaS solutions and providing them to the market.
So why not Executives-as-a-Service?
In fact, this model is already well-established in the finance space. There are now a number of very large and successful companies offering fractional or on-demand "CFOs-as-a-Service" to startups and mid-sized companies.
After almost two decades in marketing leadership positions, it became clear to me that this opportunity is even more applicable in the marketing space as it addresses the key issues I described at the beginning of this article. To help bring this offering to the market is fundamentally why I recently joined Chief Outsiders.
Below is a video of Art Saxby, CEO of Chief Outsiders, at a recent Inc 5000 conference describing the concept of a fractional ‘as-a-Service’ CMO:
On its What We Do page, Chief Outsiders very succinctly addresses some of the key challenges that are solved by using a CMO-as-a-Service. To borrow from the list:
For some companies, the notion of a full-time CMO is not dead after all. But - at the end of the day - CEOs truly need to be the ‘Chief Marketers’ at their companies and by taking advantage of the CMO-as-a-Service model, they will have a much greater chance of realizing their visions for growth.