What’s it like to be a chief marketing officer in 2011?

“There is no comfort zone anymore,” said Krishnan Chatterjee, CMO for $3.1 billion Indian IT service provider HCL Technologies. What’s hot can turn cold. What’s up may come down. And it all happens at warp speed.
There’s increased audience segmentation, a growing choice of marketing vehicles, the necessary integration of more third-party providers, and the seemingly endless touch points for any given brand that necessitates new relationships from HR and sales to IT and customer service. “The CMO today has really got to use the maximum amount of peripheral vision both internally and externally,” said Lynne Seid, partner in the global marketing officers practice of executive recruiter Heidrick & Struggles.
The key is to build a corporate marketing team for tomorrow.


“It’s very difficult to think you’re going to be able to construct the perfect message with the perfect execution anymore. If you linger too long or hesitate, someone will beat you to the punch,” said Gayle Meredith, CMO at commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley, in an interview with CMO.com. “You have to construct a team that can help you quickly assemble different pieces that you need.”

Here are 10 tips from CMOs and industry watchers for assembling the winning marketing team of the future.
1. Build A Team Of Team Builders
Nigel Dessau, senior vice president and CMO of $6.5 billion semiconductor maker AMD, told CMO.com he is always searching for new talent. Yet even with the new demands of digital marketing, he rarely seeks a particular technical ability. “The biggest single skill necessary is collaboration,” said Dessau, who must compete with archrival Intel at one-eighth of its marketing budget. “And it’s the one thing you don’t learn in school.” He recruits entry-level employees who can learn on the job, MBAs who can quickly assimilate, and seasoned team builders.
“A lot of things that we are doing today are very new and have not been done before by a lot of people,” said HCL’s Chatterjee, who spent the first decade of his marketing career in consumer goods launching everything from a cigarette brand to a high-end apparel chain. He values intellectual curiosity, positivity, and experimentation.

2. Consider Creating A CDO
Digital media is just one aspect of marketing, but it’s the newest and most challenging for many corporate marketers. Some CMOs are appointing a chief digital officer (CDO) to guide them on the frontier. “This is a new kind of person sitting in the corporate environment that, a few years ago, may have been at a dotcom or a digital agency,” Heidrick & Struggles’ Seid told CMO.com. “This will be the strategic architect of company’s digital point of view.”

3. Enter The Matrix
Meeting new demands doesn’t begin and end with the coronation of a digital chief. “It can’t be done by one person sitting at a marketing dashboard doing their own thing,” Seid said. “It has to be interwoven into every aspect of what CMO does.”
“You don’t want to create a ghetto,” AMD’s Dessau agreed. “You have to add a bit of that to everyone’s job.”
Think interdepartmental teams, cross-training, and reporting matrices. When Maria Davlantes became the first CMO at $962 million modular rug company Interface, she sought to create a physical and cultural environment conducive to small-group discussions and “cross-pollination.” “We want staff who are experts in their respective disciplines, but who can also step outside of their comfort zone and value different ideas,” she told CMO.com.
But take care to create common goals, Dessau warned.  You can’t have the director of regional working toward contributing margin dollars and the corporate manager chasing gross margin percentage and expect teamwork. Unite digital and analog efforts with common metrics as well, said Megan Findley, marketing director at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in an interview with CMO.com. Incorporate new marketing vehicles into your ROMI model. And “look at a broader range of objectives and ways of defining success,” Findley advised. “Declare victory because you learned something, not just because you sold something.”