A few years ago I was asked by the CEO of a fortune 500 client company to help find a CMO. Nothing that unusual about that for an agency Principal. What was unusual was that when I told him how I would get on it right away he stopped me and said…”what about you?”
Huh? Turns out since I was a member of the innovations team at the client and the CEO promised the Board he would get the approved new products into the pipeline within 6 months he needed me to do it.
I won’t bore you with the legal issues that needed to be dealt with since we were also outside suppliers but suffice it to say my agency life was put on hold for about 18 months.
This is where my respect for CMO’s (had it already) went way high. What a great job! As an agency guy I kept thinking I needed to get a “sign-off” on everything I did. Took me about three meetings with the CEO where he simply said;” You don’t need me to say okay to each step, you know what end result I am looking for so just do it.”
Holy crap! What a great rush. The absolute power to succeed (or fail) was under my control. It is an awesome task.
And there was so much to do. Every day. Hundreds of emails to sort through, meetings with suppliers and DECISIONS to be made. No question in my mind that you need to be super smart to hold down one of these jobs. I, of course went back to my agency job but truly missed the additive responsibility to make the decision and throw the switch. My hat is off to all of you CMO’s out there.