Aaron Barr, writing in Adweek (Jan. 22), discusses the recent rash of high-profile CMOs losing (or leaving) their jobs. Top marketing people at Coca-Cola, ConAgra,The Gap, VW. Wal-Mart and Sears have left, some after less than 2 years on the job.
Ad agencies remain vulnerable if sales don't measure up to expectations. Sales down last quarter? Fire the agency. Or, change the campaign.
But lately the inside marketing people seem to be as vulnerable as the agencies.
This underscores the corporate world's quarter-to-quarter mentality, which often causes companies to make decisions and take action with a myopic eye too narrowly focused on the next quarter's earnings and tomorrow's stock price. Rather than look at the longer view, top execs, looking to make themselves look good and safeguard their jobs, sometimes make moves not in the best long-term interest of the company or the brand.
Laying off too many employees, decimating departments and cutting back on customer service may be a short-term financial fix, but it can harm the company's product, brand, service and reputation. The short-term fix can cause long-term damage.
Similarly, a constant change in marketing meesages can be confusing to consumers. If you confound them about who you are, how can you expect them to be loyal to your product?
Perhaps it's a manifestation of our increasing need for instant gratification.
"I want it, and I want it now" is not the best mantra for the C-level suite. Shouldn't it be more like, "Let's think, plan and work hard and steady to reach our goal."
Good things often take time.