The New Emerging Media Skill Set of the Generation X Chief Marketing Officer

Published December 15, 2009

Over the past decade the job description of the Chief Marketing Officer has remained relatively unchanged. Yet the world has changed greatly. This lack of critical skill rebalancing in job skill requirements is preventing companies from hiring a new breed of Chief Marketing Officer, the Generation X CMO. Russ Mann of Covario recently coined that term in a recent blog posting. Retained executive search firms, other c-level leaders such as the CEO, CFO, COO, the Head of HR, traditional strategy consultants and boards of directors largely have not changed that because they have not had detailed training into the transformational nature of search marketing and web analytics.

The world of content and media has changed dramatically over the past decade including:

User Generated Content – Organizations and individuals can now create content online with written content in blogs (like this one), videos on sites like Youtube, photo sharing sites like Flickr and social networking sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

Search Engines Like Google (GOOG) Have Changed Content Distribution Flow From Outbound to Inbound – Opportunities for high rankings in organic listings in search engines like Google have created opportunities to transform regional universities into internationally known brands. To achieve this, Chief Marketing Officers emerging from the ranks of Generation X must possess search engine optimization, content strategy and web analytics strategy skills and have a clear understanding of the significant transformational elements that these changes can enable a competent inbound marketing organization.

Ever Increasing Content Volume is Lowering the Relevance of Legacy Marketing Channels – Television and radio are competing with the explosion in content on the web and mobile phones. As such, they are becoming less effective advertising mediums over time. Owning your own search engine optimized content on your domain can now compete directly with these legacy media organizations.

Web Analytics Creating Opportunities to Measure Marketing Outcomes – It’s quite important to understand that this is creating a foundation to create change everything from a world where marketing spending has had little if any accountability.

Journalists Quantity and Quality at Major News Outlets is Shrinking Rapidly – The implications of this are starting to become clear — most existing news outlets are understaffed and unable to digest traditional press pitches. Many journalists are simply unable read most of their email due to the volume of irrelevant messages. As layoffs mount, decades of relationships with media relations professionals are adversely impacted. The relevancy of traditional media is rapidly dwindling and getting placement in that media is becoming harder due to the shortage of dedicated journalists. Recently, Jeff Jarvis of the blog Buzzmachine put together a thoughtful piece that I think is important to understand about how most news starts in the blogosphere and then migrates to the mainstream media.

Newspapers And Magazines Are Slowly Fading In Both Importance and Quantity – According to some estimates, up to 25% of the nations newspapers may go out of business by 2010. This will crimp what has historically been a primary advertising medium for universities. Demographic shifts indicate that the younger generation does not read magazines and newspapers the way their parents did so this shift is healthy in the long run.

Press Releases Are Directly For The Target Reader As Well As Journalists – Well written press releases now rank in search engines and Internet news aggregators as well as mainstream media content. Acquaintance David Meerman Scott pointed out the following primary themes in his recent book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, he states the following clearly starting on page 25:

* Marketing is more than just advertising.
* PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience.
* You are what you publish.
* People want authenticity, not spin.
* People want participation, not propaganda.
* Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.
* Marketers must shift their thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the web.
* Pr is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It’s about your buyers seeing your company on the Web.
* Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It’s about your organization winning business.
* The Internet has made public relation public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media.
* Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great online content
* Blogs, podcasts, e-books, news releases, and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate.
* On the web, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred.

The ideal leadership characteristics to be the Chief Marketing Officer emerging from Generation X include the following:

  • Individual Will Have World Class Search Engine Optimization Skills
  • Person Will Understand How to Create Unified Content Strategy
  • Person Will Be A Well Connected NetworkerWith A Strong And Diversified Online Presence (i.e. traffic beyond Social Media)
  • Individual Is Quotable And Comfortable With Both Old And New Media
  • Person Should Be Focused on Individual and Group Stakeholder Success
  • Individual Understands The Economic Business Implication Of Successful Change Management
  • Person Should Be A Marketing, Business and Leadership Speaker
  • Individual Must Be Comfortable Delegating, Training and Transferring Skills
  • Person Has To Be Naturally Curious About How Complex Ecosystems Work
  • Individual Must “Get The Job Done Today”, Yet Be Visionary About Future State
  • Person Should Lead by Example And Have a Bottom Up Management Style
  • Individual Is Experienced In Driving Change in Data Models, Technology and Process Standardization
  • Person Should Be Able To Execute Well At The 3 Foot Level and 30,000 Foot Level
  • Individual Must Be A Team Player As Well As Able To Execute Individually
  • Must Have a Passion for Enabling Entrepreneurship And Positive Community Impact
  • Individual Has Vision On How Different Divisions Of The School Can Enable Each Others Success
  • Person Should Have Passion For Effective Spending and Budget Reform
  • Individual Should Desire to Make Web Analytics and Marketing Performance Information More Accessible
  • Person Should Embrace New Technology As Appropriate
  • Desire To Focus On The Customer In A Way Peter Drucker Would Admire

Does your current job specification have the above issues in the top strategic spots removing creative and branding, which have been commoditized and are being increasingly replaced completely by measurable marketing? It should. Actually selecting that next generation leader, that is a whole different set of issues as historical job titles are not an indicator of these skills…reengineering your organization around these skills is not a do it yourself project, you need assistance from the few people in the world that are truly qualified to help and have both the old and new skill sets and can create the right hybrids.

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