Should CMOs be blogging?

I’ve yet to earn my place on this list of Top CMOs who Twitter, but I was proud to be mentioned recently in John Ellet’s post, 5 Good CMO blogs.

I admitted in the comments there that it took me awhile to embrace social media, but I’m glad I made the jump — and wish I had done it sooner. Indeed, I’ve made up my mind that blogging is not a waste of my time. Since CMOs are responsible for the brand and for promoting ideas and mindshare about their organization, blogs are a natural fit. As John points out, the fact that very few CMOs are blogging is strange. I’d take that a step further and say, in some cases, not having a CMO blog could potentially do a disservice to the brand.

Novell’s John Dragoon, who is also mentioned in the list of 5 good CMO bloggers, explains why blogging is a good idea for B2B companies, and I agree. It’s much easier for consumers to make emotional connections with their favorite brand of chocolate or their favorite brand of shampoo, for example. That passion is harder to inspire for B2B products, so using blogs to help make those personal connections can be beneficial to B2B brands.

For both B2B and B2C companies, however, the CMO role is evolving. Who a CMO was five years ago is very different than who a CMO is today. Traditional or legacy CMOs were primarily responsible for the brand, for promotion and for advertising through print or TV. And that was pretty much it. In that environment, the CMO did not have to be intimate with the actual product or service being marketed. More often than not, that type of CMO was not viewed as strategic to the organization. That type of CMO was more of a service provider, as an agency would be.

The difference today is that modern CMOs have to be concerned with the strategy of the organization. In order to be successful, the CMO really has to have a place at the table when it comes to discussing the future of the organization. In order to do so, today’s CMO has to be familiar with the company's product and how customers use the product.

In my case, if I didn’t have a background in computer science, I don’t believe I would have survived long as a marketer at SAS. In order to gain respect in the organization, today’s CMO has to have an idea of what’s going on - not only to understand where the product is going, but to understand how things are going in the marketplace.

I wondered as I read John Eller’s post if these changes tie back to his question: where are the CMOs in the blogosphere? Could it be that the majority or CMOs are trying to do it the old way? Could it be that some CMOs are just trying to do their job as the service provider and not expose their lack of knowledge about their product on a blog? I would like to believe that we have moved beyond all that.

The other angle to consider is the company’s level of commitment to social media. If the broader organization isn’t embracing and participating in social media, is that preventing the CMO from blogging? Like I said above, I still wish I'd embraced social media sooner. If it wasn't too late for me, it's still not too late for you and your organization.

tags: blogging, cmo, social media

One Comment

  1. Brian McDonald
    Posted September 29, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Jim,
    I appreciate your honesty in admitting that you wish you had embraced social media sooner. I think we are still at the early stages since many C-level executives have not embraced blogging as much as middle managers.
    I think that having the CMO and other company leaders provides a level of transparency that few companies have. A blog provides a great way to communicate to employees that can stimulate conversations that may have never taken place. Also for large organizations it allows for more relationship building.
    And for what it's worth I would rather be listed among the top five blogs versus the top 50 on Twitter! Keep up the great posts.

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