Should the CMO role be retired, reinvented or reemphasized?
Two years after eliminating the role of chief marketing officer in favor of a chief growth officer, Coca-Cola is bringing back the CMO.
The title was retired when Francisco Crespo was appointed Coke’s first chief growth officer with responsibilities that included corporate strategy and customer and commercial operations in addition to marketing.
At the time, James Quincey, CEO, explained, “There’s a much greater intersection and integration of how to engage with consumers and shoppers. And therefore, bringing together in one group the classical marketing pieces with a customer piece with a commercial piece and with the strategy, underpinned with the digital engagement, is what’s going to allow us to more seamlessly operate in this new environment.”
Fast forward to 2019, Coke has revived its growth with an expansion of water and coffee offerings. With Mr. Crespo retiring in 2020, Manolo Arroyo will become CMO, in addition to continuing to head the Asia Pacific region.
Mr. Arroyo will oversee teams for Creative, Category, Marketing Operations, Design and Knowledge & Insights. Unlike Mr. Crespo, however, he will not oversee corporate strategy and customer and commercial operations, which Coke’s CFO and COO will oversee, respectively.
Coke said the new structure will “more closely integrate marketing within operations.”
Traditional marketing departments have struggled to deal with digital’s impact and with analyzing the customer journey in their often siloed teams. With marketing responsibilities these days increasingly overlapping innovation, analytics and strategy, Uber, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Walmart and other firms have performed similar restructuring.
In some cases, the CMO role has been split. J. C. Penney’s CMO was replaced by its first chief customer officer and chief digital officer. McDonald’s replaced its CMO with an SVP of global marketing and an SVP of marketing technology, but left no C-level marketing position.
Coke’s move, however, signaled to some that corporate America would revert back to focusing on brand-building.
Erica Seidel, CEO of The Connective Good, an executive recruitment firm, believes the CMO’s responsibilities are only expanding. Mr. Seidel told Marketing Land, “Strategy, product, channels, customer experience, pricing, analytics and more are unifying into a powerful — and increasingly interconnected — scope of responsibility.”
- Francisco Crespo to Retire as Chief Growth Officer of The Coca-Cola Company – Coca-Cola
- Coca-Cola Resurrects Post of Chief Marketing Officer – Wall Street Journal
- ‘It’ll have a ripple effect’: Coke’s CMO U-turn could mark reappraisal of threatened role – The Drum
- Is it time to say good-bye to the CMO role or just give it a new acronym? – Marketing Land
- Coke reinstates global CMO role in bid to unify marketing, operations – Marketing Dive
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What likely prompted Coca-Cola to bring back the chief marketing officer role? Is the traditional CMO role antiquated or does its responsibilities just need to be updated?