Killing CMO Careers Three Months At A Time

Relax, visualize success, contemplate the journey.

Society has attention deficit disorder. Attention spans are shorter than… hey, what’s that?!

Unfortunately, short attention span disease has also spread to the business world.

Once, great businesses had foresight, a purpose, mission, strategy and patience. Today businesses are obsessed with quarterly performance. Everything is short-term thinking in service of Wall Street.

“We’ve got to increase sales three percent to make the quarter.”
“We missed the quarterly projections. Next quarter, we need to put up some really big numbers.”
“Our marcom budget was slashed to help the quarter.”

American business operates in clips of ninety-one and ninety-two-days-at-a-time. It’s like the life cycle of an insect–– we’ve become financial fruit flies. What’s the result of this obsession with quarterly performance? Panic and short-sighted decision-making.

Which can lead to a short tenure for the Chief Marketing Officer.

In an effort to put results on the board quickly, marketers often fall prey to discounting, couponing, social media giveaways or doing whatever it takes to make short-term sales, not taking into account their long-term effects. Creating bargain hunters isn’t building brand loyalists.

Short-term tactics are fool’s gold. It’s impossible to establish a clear brand purpose and positioning without a smart strategy and long-term growth plan.

Great battles are rarely waged and won in three-month increments, and quick fixes can lead to dangerous discounting spirals or brand confusion.

Breathe deeply, marketers. It’ll be all right.

Let’s be smart. Let’s answer the big question: how can we benefit human beings first and foremost? Do that well, and the numbers will follow.

Let’s think things through, talk it out, make plans, consider options, explore approaches and take steps toward achieving our goals.

Yes, it may take longer than a quarter. Or two. Or ten. But if you’re looking to play the long game, it’s the only way to enjoy a long, prosperous career.