Marketing Turnover Reaches New High

screenshot_477According to a report from Russell Reynolds Associates  “so far, 2016 has witnessed the highest level of marketing-leader appointments and turnover since Russell Reynolds Associates began comprehensively tracking all major appointments four years ago. In the first six months of this year, we recorded 175 marketing-leader appointments, compared to 147 in the prior six months and 134 in the same period of last year”. But why is this happening?

Being a marketing CMO is not easy today.  There is this little thing called accountability and ROI that C suite executives are looking for as they try to ensure sales and profits for investors.  I am not surprised with the findings of the report including these key findings:

  • Some industries, and most notably the retail industry, experienced particularly high volatility. Among the top 30 US-based retailers by revenue, 48 percent have turned over their marketing leader in the last 12 months alone.

    The clear majority of marketing officer appointments during the first two quarters were external hires, at 62 percent, as they were in the first two quarters of 2015 (63 percent).

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So why is this happening?

1ne: Retail, as we know it is changing dramatically.  Customers have higher expectations and retailers can no longer get away with paying minimum wages to employees while expecting them to go the extra distance to help potential customers.

2wo: External hires into high level marketing roles are expected to hit the ground running and are often not given time to learn the cultural behaviors of the organization.

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3hree: Too many external hires come in with a “revolution” attitude which puts people off guard. They would be better asking a lot of questions first and learning rather than trying to implement sweeping changes.

4our: Too many marketing people have bought into the hype of digital marketing, including social media and mobile.  While digital is an essential element of any marketing mix I could argue that, for some products, an instore POP is more important than a facebook page.

5ive: Non marketing people know the cost of everything but don’t understand the value of branding, strategically.

6ix: Failing to look at your brand/product as a customer rather than a marketer.

Then there are CMO’s who are all about their personal brand, rather than showing actual results.  These are the people who speak at trade conferences and work with PR to get their names in the trade press.  They often take credit for everything and treat others as simply tools to help them enhance their personal brand.