Imagine you are planning a road trip from Boston to Los Angeles and the best your GPS can do is give you some general guidance on how to get there: Head West at the nearest entrance to a highway.
Now imagine there is no navigational system at all. Welcome to the world of marketing. No standard approaches, no proven processes, no perfect systems. And yes, we have dozens of professional organizations to give general guidance, but CMOs are on their own for every decision they make, which may explain why the average high profile CMO can barely hold down a job for more than 18 months.
It’s not the pressure or even the ridiculous expectations. It is the total lack of science behind everything they have to do, from strategic planning without clear goals from executive management (what are my priorities?) through the implementation of dozens of integrated marketing tactics, and the measurement and analysis of every single result, and the management of outsourced services and the management of budgets overall.
Clearly there is no shortage of industry experts who will tell you they have a digital secret or an inbound solution or a scientifically proven analytic, blah, blah, blah. But they are either liars or delusional. You are on your own.
Take the right risk and you could win the brass ring. Take the wrong risk and you will be wishing you had a golden parachute.
Like I said, marketing ain’t easy. But in the words of Hyman Roth, “this is the business we’ve chosen.” So no one should feel too sorry for themselves. However, we should start talking honestly about what we know and don’t know, about what is truth and what is embellishment, about what works and what doesn’t work, and about how we can work together to make this a better industry.